Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Notes on New Zealand Fish

"Lophotes cepedianus Giorna. Plate IV, fig. 2.
Lophotes cepedianus Giorna, Mem. Accad. Torino, xvi, 1809, p. 19, pl. ii, fig. 1.
Mr. A. Hamilton, Director of the Dominion Museum, sent a specimen of Lophotes, upon which he asked me to report.
Parker appears to have been the first to record Lophotes from New Zealand, and, knowing only of L. cepedianus, assumed that his specimen was of the same species. The Dunedin record was followed by a notice by Clarke, who reported the stranding of a specimen on the Waiwakaiho Beach, Taranaki. Clarke did not see the fish, but identified it generically from verbal descriptions and drawings, one of which he reproduced.
We next find that Hutton, though giving the references to the papers of Parker and Clarke, enters the New Zealand species as L. fiski Gunther. He seems to have had no specimen for examination, and L. fiski is such a peculiar form that he was clearly wrong in identifying with it the specimens described by Parker and Clarke. Upon the authority of the “Index” L. fiski was entered in my “Basic List,” but the species should evidently be erased from the New Zealand fauna. When describing this fish in 1890 from a specimen stranded at the Cape, Günther mentioned that three nominal species had been then described—namely, L. cepedianus Giorna, L. capellei Schlegel, and L. cristatus Johnson—but remarked that all three were possibly of the same species. He had then overlooked the fact that Johnston had associated his own name with a Lophotes taken in Tasmanian waters: L. guntheri is described as having reticulate markings. More recently, Kershaw identified with L. cristatus a specimen taken in Victorian waters, but I have not seen his note. As my private library is packed for transport, I am unable to make further notes on the history of the fishes of this genus.
The subject of this note was obtained in the Wellington district, and a cast was made for exhibition in the Canterbury Museum. A photograph of this cast is reproduced herewith, and shows the general proportions of the fish, its peculiar flat shape rendering it tolerably free from the distortions to which a round fish is subject under the photographic lens. The first rays of the dorsal fin and the upper rays of the caudal were broken, otherwise the fish was quite perfect."

"Centrophorus plunketi Waite. Plate III.
Centrophorus plunketi Waite, Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 42, 1910, p. 384, pl. xxxvii.
This species was first diagnosed four years ago from an example caught off Kaikoura, and in July last (1913) I received a second specimen from the same locality, by favour of Messrs. Nilsen Brothers.
This individual is slightly smaller than the previous one, being 1398 mm. in length. It also is a female, and is interesting from the fact that it was gravid, thirty-six young ones being obtained from the uteri. They are all of similar size, being 165 mm. in length, but had evidently not nearly reached their full foetal development, as the yolk-sac is large (66 mm. in diameter) and almost globular. At this stage the gills are still external, being apparent as red filaments, and, as usual, branchial filaments are also protruded through the spiracle. The predorsal spines do not at this stage show the protective knobs found in the foetus of Squalus, though they may be a later foetal development.
In its ball-like form and short thick peduncle, the yolk-sac of Centrophorus agrees with Squalus, and differs greatly from that of Galeus, which I have described as of peculiar shape, provided with a long umbilical cord, entering the sac towards the larger end.
The colour of the adult shark is uniform dark brown; it is interesting, therefore, to find that the foetal examples are white beneath, as with the majority of adult fishes and sharks, perhaps indicating that the uniform coloration of Centrophorus and Scymnorhinus is an acquired character."

Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1868-1961. Link…

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