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DescriptionThe body is elongate and compressed, the tongue adnate, the head is slightly compressed.The pelvic fins are completely separated, no membrane is present between the first and the second dorsal fins. The first dorsal fin is shallow and its margin rounded, the fourth spine is slightly longer than the other spines, and the caudal fin is deeply emarginate. The specimens have a pair of elongated caudal fin filaments that makes the caudal fin a peculiar shape as typical for the species. Specimens above 70 mm SL show the presence of the elongated caudal fin filaments (Hoese and Larson 1994). Body is covered with ctenoid scales while anteriorly under the middle of the first dorsal fin and on the belly th scale are cycloid; sides of the nape and the pectoral base are scaled; the prepelvic area are naked; the longitudinal-scale count is 142; the transverse-scale count is 40. Colour. Overall colouration is similar to that described by Hoese and Larson (1994). The top of the head and the dorsal surface of the body are brownish gray; the rest of the head and the body is white to pale gray. The body has two dark red stripes, the dorsal stripe extending from the front of the snout through the eye and just above the pectoral base and along the upper body to the tip of the upper caudal filament; the ventral stripe runs parallel to the first stripe, beginning at the side of the upper lip, extending across the upper part of the preoperculum and middle of the operculum, over middle of the pectoral base, continuing on the body behind the pectoral base, and reaching the tip of the lower caudal filament.The colour of the stripes is dark red to reddish brown, darkest anteriorly, and the stripes on the caudal filaments are outlined in white. The eye is yellowish white dorsally and ventrally with a reddish brown stripe through the middle, and the lower lip is white. The first dorsal fin possesses a large oval black spot extending between the third and the fifth dorsal spines. Morphometric and meristic characters of Valenciennea helsdingenii from the Gulf of Mannar, southeast coast of India.
Morphometric measurements GB.126.96.36.199 GB.188.8.131.52.1 mm % SL mm % SL Standard length (SL) 97 − 145 − Head length (HL) 23 23.7 37 25.5 Eye diameter 4 4.1 5 3.4 Postorbital length 12 12.4 19 13.1 Upper jaw length 10 10.3 16 11.0 Lower jaw length 9 9.3 15 10.3 Preorbital length 9 9.3 14 9.7 Predorsal length 32 33.0 48 33.1 Prepectoral length 27 27.8 45 31.0 Prepelvic length 27 27.8 42 29.0 Preanal length 56 57.7 86 59.3 Body depth (max.) 17 17.5 26 17.9 Caudal peduncle length 16 16.5 25 17.2 Caudal peduncle width 11 11.3 15 10.3 Distance between anal fin and anus 2 2.1 4 2.8 Distance between pelvic fin and anal fin 29 29.9 45 31.0 Fin-ray counts First dorsal VI VI Second dorsal I11 I12 Pectoral 22 22 Pelvic 6 6 Anal I11 I12 Segmented caudal 17 17 Branched caudal 13 13