Zoological Studies

Vol. 43 No. 3, 2004

Larval Development of the Rare Australian Aploactinid Fish Matsubarichthys inusitatus (Pisces: Scorpaeniformes)

Jeffrey M. Leis1,*, Amanda C. Hay1 and Anthony G. Miskiewicz2

1Aquatic Zoology, Ichthyology, Australian Museum, 6 College St., Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia
2Environment and Health Division, Wollongong City Council, Locked Bag 8821, South Coast Mail Centre, Wollongong, NSW 2521, Australia

Jeffrey M. Leis, Amanda C. Hay and Anthony G. Miskiewicz (2004) Larval development in the aploactinid velvetfish, Matsubarichthys inusitatus, previously known only from the holotype, is described using 15 larvae from plankton samples. Larvae were identified based on their unique meristics. Development is rapid, with all fins formed and the skeleton largely ossified by 4 mm standard length. The larvae are robust, and are characterized by large, early-forming pigmented pectoral fins, 20 or 21 myomeres, and blunt head spines that form following notochord flexion. Although this description results in the larval development of M. inusitatus being the best documented of any aploactinid, the species is known from only 1 post-settlement individual, reported herein; the adult habitat and morphology remain unknown.

Key words: Ontogeny, Aploactinidae, Larvae, Indo-Pacific.

*Correspondence: Tel: 61-2-93206242. Fax: 61-2-93206059. E-mail: jeffl@austmus.gov.au