Ichthyological Research

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 145–172 | Cite as

Redescriptions of Pterois radiata and Pterois cincta (Scorpaenidae: Pteroinae) with notes on geographic morphological variations in P. radiata

  • Mizuki Matsunuma
  • Hiroyuki Motomura
Full Paper


The lionfishes (Scorpaenidae: Pteroinae) Pterois radiata Cuvier in Cuvier and Valenciennes 1829 and Pterois cincta Rüppell 1838 are both redescribed as valid, although the latter has previously been regarded as a junior synonym of the former. Pterois (Pseudomonopterus) vittata Sauvage 1878 and Scorpaena barffi Curtiss 1944 are regarded as junior synonyms of P. radiata. Pterois radiata and P. cincta are easily distinguished from their congeners by usually having XII, 11 dorsal-fin rays and 16–17 pectoral-fin rays, in addition to five broad vertical bands on the side of the body and a single broad horizontal band on the side of the caudal peduncle. Pterois cincta can be distinguished from P. radiata by having extremely long fin rays [e.g., longest pelvic-fin soft ray length 48.2–71.9 (mean 60.0) % of standard length in P. cincta, 36.8–53.3 (44.7) % in P. radiata]; and relatively narrow main bands and broad additional (inserted) markings on the side of the body. Pterois radiata is widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific, ranging from the east coast of Africa eastward to French Polynesia, and from northwestern Australia northward to southern Japan; in contrast, P. cincta is restricted to the Red Sea, with the exception of several doubtful records. Intraspecific geographical variations in several morphological characters were recognized between Indian and Pacific Ocean P. radiata, the former having fewer scales on parts of the body, and occasionally absence of additional markings (between the second and third and fourth and fifth bands) on the sides of the body. Geographical variations in the number of pectoral-fin rays in Pacific Ocean populations of P. radiata are also documented and morphological changes with growth of the two species described in detail. A neotype is proposed for P. radiata.


Pterois vittata Scorpaena barffi Synonyms Distribution Morphology 



We are deeply grateful to M. McGrouther, A. Hay, and S. Reader (AMS); K.-T. Shao, Y.-C. Liao, and M.-Y. Lee (ASIZP); J. Maclaine and O. Crimmen (BMNH); H. Endo, T. Yamakawa, N. Nakayama (BSKU), and E. Katayama (formerly BSKU); T. Nakabo, Y. Kai, A. Tokairin (FAKU), and N. Muto (formerly FAKU); K. Swagel (FMNH); M. Yabe, H. Imamura, and T. Kawai (HUMZ); H. Senou (KPM); R. Causse (MNHN); M.-D. Wandhammer (MZS); Z. Arifin, R. Pratiwi, M. Adrim, I. Alhakim, and K. Wibowo (NCIP); H.-C. Ho (NMMB); M. Gomon and D. Bray (NMV); A. Palandacic (NMW); K. Matsuura and G. Shinohara (NSMT); I.-S. Chen (NTOU); K. Hatooka (OMNH); U. Satapoomin (PMBC); R. Bills and O. Gon (SAIAB); T. Alpermann, H. Zetzsche (SMF), and F. Krupp (formerly SMF); T. Yoshino (formerly URM); J. Williams (USNM); P. Bartsch and C. Lamour (ZMB); and K. Sakamoto (ZUMT) for their kind hospitality during the first author’s visits to their institutions. We are indebted to D. Catania (CAS), A. Suzumoto (BPBM), T. Noichi (CMNH), and R. Feeney (LACM) for providing opportunities to examine specimens. We especially thank G. Dally and M. Hammer (NTM) for providing data on and the photograph of an NTM specimen; R. Winterbottom (ROM) and R. Bills (SAIAB) for providing photographs of P. radiata from the Indian Ocean; S. Bogorodsky (Omsk, Russia) for providing underwater photographs of P. cincta; M. Meguro (formerly KAUM) for collecting data on specimens; Y. Sakurai (Okinawa Prefecture, Japan), S. Koizumi (URM), K. Koeda (formerly URM), and H.-C. Ho (MNHB) for donating specimens; K. Koeda, T. Yoshida, Y. Fukui, B. Jeong, S. Tashiro, H. Hata, Y. Eguchi and other students, and Y. Haraguchi, M. Itou, M. Takayama and other volunteers of KAUM for curatorial assistance and sampling of specimens; R. Kuiter (Aquatic Photographics, Seaford, Victoria, Australia) for providing information on and an underwater photograph of P. radiata in the Maldives; E. Beech (Picture Library, the Natural History Museum, London) for providing an image of Parkinson’s drawing and license for its use; and G. Hardy (Ngunguru, New Zealand) for reading the manuscript and providing help with English. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers and an editor for their constructive comments on the manuscript. This study was supported in part by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A: 26241027, B: 24370041 and C: 23580259 and 26450265) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan (JSPS), JSPS Asian Core Program ‘‘Establishment of Research and Education Network on Coastal Marine Science in Southeast Asia’’, JSPS International Training Program ‘‘Protect Diversity of Bioresources in the Tropical Area’’, the Coastal Area Capability Enhancement in Southeast Asia Project of the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan, Establishment of Research and Education Network on Biodiversity and Its Conservation in the Satsunan Islands” project of Kagoshima University, adopted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan, and the ‘‘Biological Properties of Biodiversity Hotspots in Japan’’ project of the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tsukuba, Japan. The first author also gratefully acknowledges a grant from the Mikimoto Fund for Marine Ecology.


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© The Ichthyological Society of Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Seikai National Fisheries Research InstituteNagasakiJapan
  2. 2.The Kagoshima University MuseumKagoshimaJapan

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