Extending Geographical Distribution Range of Reef Needlefish Strongylura incisa (Valenciennes, 1846) (Teleostei: Beloniformes: Belonidae) in the Eastern Indian Ocean with a Key to the Species of Needlefish Occurring in the Area
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Present study deals with new distributional records of Strongylura incisa (Belonidae) based on five specimens collected from the Andaman Islands and Tuticorin Coast (Tamil Nadu), India during 2016–17. Specimens were identified by absence of scales at bases of dorsal and anal fins, 19–20 dorsal fin rays, 21–23 anal fin rays, 102–113 predorsal scales, dorsal fin origin over 4–5 anal fin rays, prominent elongate spot on cheek between opercle and preopercle, and double lobe of gonad. Strongylura incisa can be distinguished from its most similar congener S. leiura based on number of predorsal scales (100–125 in S. incisa versus 130–180 in S. leiura), dorsal fin origin over anal fin rays (4–6 in S. incisa versus 7–10 in S. leiura), number of gonad lobes (2 in S. incisa versus 1 in S. leiura) and colour characteristics (prominent elongate spot on cheek between opercle and preopercle in S. incisa versus black bar on cheek between opercle and preopercle and anterior region of the body in S. leiura). Present study provides the first documented record of S. incisa from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and East Coast of India with an updated key for Strongylura species. Further, it is an addition to the ichthyofaunal biodiversity of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and East Coast of India.
KeywordsStrongylura incisa Belonidae Eastern Indian Ocean Andaman and Nicober Islands And needlefish
The authors are grateful to Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, Director, ICAR-CMFRI, Cochin and Dr. Gopal Krishna, Director, ICAR-CIFE, Mumbai for providing all necessary facilities and constant support during the entire study period. We also thank Mr. Ramesh for helping in collection of reported specimens of needlefish at Tuticorin. We are deeply indebted to Dr. P. P. Manojkumar, Scientist-in-Charge, Tuticorin Research Centre of CMFRI for providing lab facility. We also thank Sajikumar K. K. for preparing a beautiful distributional map.
The work was supported by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare), Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi, India.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interests
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed by the authors.
Sampling and Field Studies
All necessary permits for sampling and observational field studies have been obtained by the authors from the competent authorities and are mentioned in the acknowledgements.
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