Comprehensive Description

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Symphysanodon berryi Anderson, 1970 ZBK .

This species was referred to as Symphysanodon sp. A by Anderson (1967). In describing S. berryi ZBK , Anderson (1970) examined 136 specimens (47-137 mm SL) collected in the western Atlantic off the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Tobago, Mexico (Quintana Roo), Belize, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Anderson (1970) reported a specimen of this species collected off Grand Bahama Island along with one of S. octoactinus ZBK . We have examined 28 specimens (36-160 mm SL) since the publication of the original description; they are from North Carolina (MCZ 149604; 46 mm SL.-UF 38899; 61 mm SL; specimen reported by Rohde et al., 1996); Bermuda (USNM 326397; 53 mm SL.-USNM 372742; 36 mm SL); Bahamas, off Great Inagua Island (USNM 289921; 115 mm SL); Puerto Rico (CAS 61198; 96 mm SL.-CAS 61199; 74 mm SL -USNM 289922; 68 mm SL; caught with holotype of S. mona ZBK ); Anguilla (FMNH 70768; 5 [of 18]: 74-99 mm SL); Dominica (FMNH 70769; 71 mm SL); Saint Lucia (MCZ 49899; 41 mm SL.-UF 230281; 74 mm SL); central Atlantic off Ascension Island (USNM 326396; 144 mm SL); eastern South Atlantic at 11º37’S, 05º13’W (HUMZ 100004-100005; 2: 148-160 mm SL.-HUMZ 100210-100214; 5: 97- 149 mm SL); eastern South Atlantic, west of the Island of Pagalu ( Annobón ) at 03º01’S, 00º46’E (IIPB 405/1999; 154 mm SL.-IIPB 406/1999; 151 mm SL.-IIPB 407/1999; 147 mm SL.-IIPB 420/1999; 149 mm SL).

Karsten Hartel (pers. comm., 13 October 1999) informed us that there are numerous pelagic larvae and postlarvae of Symphysanodon ZBK in the collections of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, obtained from numerous localities along the Atlantic coast of North America from latitude 41º33’ N to southeastern Florida, in the West Indies, and throughout much of the Caribbean Sea. Two of those MCZ specimens (MCZ 81819, 9 mm SL, off Yucatán ; MCZ 81820, 20 mm SL, off Louisiana) collected in the Gulf of Mexico were identified by Carole C. Baldwin as Symphysanodon berryi ZBK .

Trunov (1976) described Planctanthias longifilis ZBK (considering it to be a serranid) from a specimen of 115 mm SL collected from a depth of 150 m at a locality west of the Island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. We have been unsuccessful in attempts to borrow that specimen (ZISP 42033). Nevertheless, the original description and illustration in Trunov (1976) indicate that P. longifilis ZBK is probably a junior synomym of S. berryi ZBK . This conclusion is supported by the examination of four IIPB specimens from the eastern South Atlantic, listed by Allué et al. (2000) as P. longifilis ZBK , that are representatives of S. berryi ZBK and is further supported by records of S. berryi ZBK from off Ascension Island and from a locality about 260 nautical miles north of St. Helena in the eastern South Atlantic (see above).

Cervigón (1993:157, fig. 69) mentioned five specimens (80-98 mm SL) of S. berryi ZBK from Venezuela (north of La Tortuga in about 265 m), and Cervigon et al. (1993) reported that this species was caught at some stations off Venezuela by a research vessel in 1988. Claro et al. (2000) reported the species from the southern coast of Cuba, based on observations and collections of specimens from the submersible Johnson Sea Link II (Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Fort Pierce, Florida) in December 1997, and Claro et al. (2001) noted its presence off southern Cuba. Roa-Varón et al. (2003:14, fig. 8) examined three specimens collected off the Caribbean coast of Colombia (off Islas de San Bernardo) in 268-302 m.

Moore et al. (2003) reported two specimens of S. berryi ZBK in their annotated list of deepwater fishes occurring off New England, USA. One of those (MCZ 149604) is noted above. The other (MCZ 150975) on reexamination turns out to be a specimen of the epigonid genus Epigonus ZBK (pers. comm., Karsten E. Hartel, 12 August 2003).

Like S. maunaloae ZBK , S. berryi ZBK has a wide geographic range, viz.: western Atlantic from off North Carolina and Bermuda to northern South America (including the West Indies, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea), central Atlantic (off Ascension Island), and eastern South Atlantic (from localities well north of the Island of St. Helena and west of the Island of Pagalu). The western Atlantic range is probably even more extensive because many of the MCZ larvae and postlarvae collected north of North Carolina (see above) are very likely representatives of S. berryi ZBK , suggesting that the adults may also range further to the north. Locality data for S. berryi ZBK are plotted in Figure 4. Anderson (1970) reported the depth range of S. berryi ZBK as 220-476 m. Depths of capture for the additional specimens cited above, with the exception of those collected off Bermuda, range from 101 (101-256) - 460 (163-460) m. The two Bermuda specimens (USNM 326397, USNM 372742) were caught between the surface and 950 m by midwater trawls over very deep water.

Symphysanodon berryi ZBK displays pronounced sexual dimorphism in development of the first segmented ray of the pelvic fin and lobes of the caudal fin; larger males have those fin elements greatly produced, but females do not (Anderson, 1970). Also, males have coarser and better developed dentition than do females (Anderson, 1970).


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