Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India

Volume 17 Issue 1

A systematic review of the fishes of the family Leiognathidae

P. S. B. R. James

The fishes of the family Leiognathidae form a well-defined group and are widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific, Though small in size, a few species form dense schools in shallow regions, offering great potentialities for commercial exploitation. They are an important source of food and fish meal.

The revision collates earlier literature, supplementing with original data based on examination of fresh material of 18 species of the three genera, Leiognathus Lacepfede, Secutor Gistel and Gazza Ruppell from the seas around India and re-examination of types of some species.

The characters mainly used by earlier authors to separate the species are the presence or absence of scales on head and chest, number of lateral line scales and their posterior limit, and proportional measurements. Since scales are markedly small and deciduous, accurate counts are difficult to obtain. Proportional measurements show a great amount of overlap amongst species which, therefore, need to be used with discretion. While meristic counts are of little taxonomic value, colour pattern has been found useful in distinguishing at least groups of species, if not species.

Beside giving detailed descriptions and keys, the revision assigns a place to every nominal genus and species, gives diagnoses for all genera and species arguing the case for synonymies with whatever detail the individual cases may demand.

The species described here include two new records and one new species already reported by the author from the Seas around India.

Date : 30-04-1975