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Carapidae
PEARLFISHES
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Carapus mourlani
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Carapus mourlani
Carapus mourlani
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Carapus mourlani

Carapus mourlani
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Carapus mourlani
Carapus mourlani
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Carapus mourlani

Carapus mourlani
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Carapus mourlani
Carapus mourlani
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Carapus mourlani

Encheliophis dubius
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Encheliophis dubius
Encheliophis
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Encheliophis

Encheliophis vermicularis
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Encheliophis vermicularis
Encheliophis vermicularis
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Encheliophis vermicularis

Echiodon exsilium
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Echiodon exsilium
Echiodon
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Echiodon

Carapidae
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Carapidae
español

Overview
Main identification features
  • very elongate, tapering to filamentous tail
  • dorsal, anal and tail fins continuous
  • +/- pelvics and pectorals
  • anus under throat
  • a: origin under pectoral
FAMILY CARAPIDAE

PEARLFISHES

Pearlfishes are well known for their habit of living commensally inside sea cucumbers, bivalves, starfishes, and tunicates. In addition, a few species are free-living. These fishes are very elongate, the body tapering to a slender, pointed tail; the dorsal and anal fins lack spines and are confluent around the tail. Other features include an unusually positioned anus (far forward on the throat), lack of pelvic fins (except in the four free-living species of Pyramodon), and pectoral fins that are either very small or absent. Carapids are sometimes called glass eels because many species have transparent bodies. There are two larval stages in the life cycle, the planktonic vexillifer, characterized by a streamer-like predorsal filament, and the benthic-dwelling tenuis stage. Most adult pearlfishes spend nearly fulltime inside their host and are seldom seen. Some species are parasitic, feeding on the gonads and gills of their host. Those that live in sea cucumbers are able to leave their host periodically, re-entering tail first through the cloacal opening.

These pearlfishes inhabit tropical and subtropical areas in Atlantic and Indo-Pacific oceans. The family was recently reviewed by Markle and Olney (1990) who recognized 31 species in seven genera. There are four species in three genera our area, two of them endemic.


References
  • Castri-Aguirre, J.L., Espinoza-Pérez, H. and Schmitter-Soto, J.J., 2002., Lista sitemática, biogeográfica y ecológica de la ictiofauna estuarino lagunar y vicaria de México. En: Lozano-Vilano, M. L. (Ed.). Libro Jubilar en Honor al Dr. Salvador Contreras Balderas., Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León:117-142.
  • Castro-Aguirre , J. L. , García-Domínguez , F. and Balart, E. F., 1996., Nuevos hospederos y datos morfométricos de Encheliophis dubius (Ophidiiformes: Carapidae) en el Golfo de California, México., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 44:753-756.
  • Castro-Aguirre , J. L. and Balart, E. F., 1997., Contribución al conocimiento de la ictiofauna de fondos blandos y someros de la Ensenada de La Paz y Bahía de La Paz, B.C.S.. En Urbán Ramírez, J. y M. Ramírez Rodríguez (Eds.). La Bahía de La Paz investigación y conservación., Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur:139-150.
  • Castro-Aguirre, J.L., 1999., Ictiofauna estuarino-lagunar y vicaria de México., Editorial Limusa S.A. de C.V.: 1-629pp.
  • Echeverry, O.I. and Polanía, J., 2001., Nuevo registro del pez perla Encheliophis dubius (Putman 1874) y primera recolección Encheliophis vermicularis (Müller 1842) para el archipiélago de Galápagos., Boletin Ecotropica. Univ. Bog. Jorge Tadeo Lozano, 35:31-36.
  • Findley, L.T., Hendrickx, M.E., Brusca, R.C., van der Heiden, A.M., Hastings, P.A., Torre, J., 2003., Diversidad de la Macrofauna Marina del Golfo de California, Mexico., CD-ROM versión 1.0. Projecto de la Macrofauna del Golfo .  Derechos reservados de los autores y Conservación Internacional.
  • Galván-Magaña, F., Gutiérrez-Sánchez, F., Abitia-Cárdenas, L.A., Rodríguez-Romero, J., 2000., The distribution and affinities of the shore fishes of the Baja California Sur lagoons. In Aquatic Ecosystems of Mexico: Status and Scope. Eds. M. Manuwar, S.G. Lawrence, I.F. Manuwar & D.F. Malley. Ecovision World Monograph Series., Backhuys Publishers:383-398.
  • Heller , E. and Snodgrass, R.E., 1903., Papers from the Hopkins Stanford Galapagos expedition, 1898-1899. XV. New fishes., Proc. Wash. Acad. Sci., 5:189-229.
  • Jimenez-Prado, P., Béarez, P., 2004., Peces marinos del Ecuador continental / Marine fishes of continental Ecuador., SIMBIOE/NAZCA/IFEA tomo 1 y 2.
  • Jordan , D.S. and Gilbert, C.H., 1882., List of Fishes now in the Museum of Yale College, Collected by Prof. Frank H. Bradley, at Panama, with Descriptions of Three New Species., Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus., 5:620-632.
  • Jordan , D.S. and Gilbert, C.H., 1883., List of the fishes now in the museum of Yale College, collected by Prof. Frank H. Bradley at panama, with descriptions of three new species., Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus., 5(1882):620-632.
  • Jordan, D.S., 1895., The fishes of Sinaloa., Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences (Series 2), 5:377-514.
  • Lopez , M. I. and Bussing, W. A., 1982., Lista provisional de los peces marinos de la Costa Rica., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 30(1):5-26.
  • Love, M.S., Mecklenburg, C.W., Mecklenburg, T.A., Thorsteinson, L.K., 2005., es of the West Coast and Alaska: a checklist of North Pacific and Artic Ocena species from Baja California to the Alaska-Yukon border., U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, 288pp.
  • Markle , D.F. and Olney, J.E., 1990., Systematics of the Pearlfishes (Pisces: Carapidae)., Bull. Mar. Sci., 47:269-410.
  • Meek , S.E. and Hildebrand, S.F., 1928., The marine fishes of Panama. Part III., Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Zool. Ser. Publ., XV:709-1045.
  • Murdy , E. O. and Cowan, M. E., 1980., Observations on the Behavior and Symbiotic Relationship of the Pearlfish Encheliophis vermicularis (Osteichthys: Carapidae)., Kalisan, Philipp. J. Biol., 9:309-312.
  • Müller, J. W., 1842., Beobachtungen über die Schwimmblase der Fische, mit Bezug auf einige neue Fischgattungen. With subtitles I-III., Arch. Anat. (Müller), 1842:307-329.
  • Nelson, J.S., 1984., Fishes of the World (Third edition)., John Wiley and Sons:523pp.
  • Nielsen , J. G. , Cohen , D. M. , Markle , D. F. and Robins, C. R., 1999., Ophidiiform fishes of the world (Order Ophidiiformes)., FAO Fish. Synop. No 125, 18(125):1-177.
  • Paredes-Rios , G. A. and Balart, E. F., 1999., Corroboration of the bivalve, Pinna rugosa, as a host of the pacific pearlfish, Encheliophis dubius (Ophidiiformes: Carapidae), in the gulf of California, México., Copeia, 1999(2):521-522.
  • Petit, G., 1934., Un Fierasfer nouveau de Madagascar., Bull. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. (Ser 2), 6:393-397.
  • Putnam, F. W., 1874., Notes on Ophidiidae and Fierasferidae, with description of new species from America and the Mediterranean., Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist., 16:339-348.
  • Rosenblatt, R.H., 1961., A new pearlfish (Family Carapidae) from the Gulf of California., Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash., 74:207-212.
  • Snodgrass , R. E. and Heller, E., 1905., Papers from the Hopkins Stanford Galapagos expedition, 1898-1899. XVII. Shorefishes of the Revillagigedo, Clipperton, Cocos and Galapagos Island., Proc. Wash. Acad. Sci., 6:333-427.
  • Van der Heiden , A. M. and Findley, L. T., 1988., Lista de los peces marinos del sur de Sinaloa, México., Anales del Centro de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia de la Universidad Autonoma Nacional de Mexico, 15:209-224.
  • Vega, A.J., Villareal, N., 2003., Peces asociados a arrecifes y manglares en el Parque Nacional Coiba., Tecnociencia, 5:65-76.
  • Williams, J.T., 1984., Studies on Echiodon (Pisces: Carapidae), with description of two new Indo-Pacific species., Copeia, 1984:410-422.
  • Williams, J.T., 1984., Synopsis and phylogenetic analysis of the pearlfish subfamily Carapinae (Pisces: Carapidae)., Bull. Mar. Sci., 34:386-397.

Acknowledgements

I thank Ashley MacDonald and John Pickering, University of Georgia, for technical support in building this page.


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