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Classification of Muraenesocidae (Actinopterygii: Anguilliformes) in the East China Sea using Morphological and DNA Barcoding Approaches

Classification of Muraenesocidae (Actinopterygii: Anguilliformes) in the East China Sea using Morphological and DNA Barcoding Approaches

Chaojie Yang1,2,3, Haishan Wang1,2,3, Le Ye1,2,3 and Zhi Chen1,2,3,*

1College of Fisheries and Life Science, Hainan Tropical Ocean University, Sanya 572022, China
2Key Laboratory of Utilization and Conservation for Tropical Marine Bioresources (Hainan Tropical Ocean University), Ministry of Education, Sanya, 572022, China
3Hainan Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Tropical Marine Fishery Resources, Sanya, 572022, China

*      Corresponding author:



The identification of species constitutes the basic step in phylogenetic studies, biodiversity monitoring and conservation. The morphological descriptions and DNA barcoding study about Muraenesocidae in the East China Sea were old, rough and deficient. Morphometric measurements and meristic counts were taken for all collected Muraenesocidae samples in our present study. Teeth characters that are conclusive for the species were consistent with Muraenesox and were sufficient for separation from other Muraenesocidae species. The morphological results further suggested that only two Muraenesocidae species belonging to Muraenesox inhabit the East China Sea.This study confirms the occurrence of Muraenesox bagio (Hamilton, 1822) misreported as Congresox talabonoides (Bleeker, 1853) for the first time. Muraenesox bagio was diagnosed by: (1) head narrower, interorbital width (IOW)<10% HL; (2) lateral-line pores before anus (PALL) 33 to 39; (3) dorsal-fin rays before anus (PADR) 49 to 57; (4) vertebrae 131 to 140; (5) red-brown to red color on the pectoral fin; when fresh the body is pale yellow with it being darker above and pale below; the very small black spots are little. In addition, the mitochondrial fragment of 12S rRNA was also sequenced for the purpose of classification. Mean genetic distances within Muraenesox bagio (Hamilton, 1822) and Muraenesox cinereus (Forsskål, 1775) group were 1.77% and 0.41%, respectively. Group mean distance between Congresox talabonoides (Bleeker, 1853) and other species ranged from 11.79% to 51.01%. Species were also confirmed at genetic level. According to present study, Congresox talabonoides (Bleeker, 1853) might prefer warm water and live in lower latitude areas. Further sampling is indispensable in order to define their geographic limits.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology


Vol. 53, Iss. 3, Pages 801-1200


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