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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Macroramphosus gracilis (Lowe, 1839)

(Figure 2B)

Material examined: ESFM-PIS/9805, 9 specimens, 43-67 mm SL, northern Cyprus ( 35º13’N - 33º56’E ), 102 m, 14 July 1998 ; ESFM-PIS/0202, 3 specimens, 56-66 mm SL, Babakale-Çanakkale (northern Aegean Sea), 140 m, 27 April 2002 ; ESFM-PIS/0211, 3 specimens, 56-84 mm SL, Kusadasi Bay (southern Aegean Sea), 160 m, 02 October 2002 ; ESFM-PIS/0416, 1 specimen, 106 mm SL, northern Aegean Sea, 70 m, 28 July 2004 .

Description: First dorsal fin IV -V, second dorsal finrays 11-13, anal finrays 18-19, pectoral finrays 16, caudal finrays 20-22. Body compressed and slender (maximum body depth 4.53 to 5.39 times in SL). Body height gradually decreasing after the first dorsal fin, forming no or slightly elevated hump over second dorsal fin base. Head elongate with long and tubular snout. Mouth opening very small, toothless, and located at tip of snout. Eye large, its diameter smaller than postocular head length, located close to dorsum of head, bearing a prominent supraorbital crest; a crest-like structure on the anterior part of the orbital region, having no spinules (Figure 3B). First dorsal fin clearly originating before anus; second spine strong, enlarged with serrated posterior edge (total number of denticules 0-14, mean=8.63), not extending beyond second dorsal fin base. Body covered with small and finely toothed scales. Bony plate structure on the body is similar to M. scolopax , with posterior edge of each plate serrated in adults. Ventral body profile almost straight; ventral scutes not protruding; projecting scute between pelvic and anal fins absent or poorly developed (Figure 4B). Fresh specimens of juveniles are dark brown and adults are brownish on the back, paler and silvery on the sides. Morphometric values are given in Table 1.

Distribution and biology: M. gracilis is a cosmopolitan species, distributed widely in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans (Ehrich & John, 1973; Wheeler, 1973). Occurrence of the species in various parts of the Mediterranean Sea was reported by several authors ( Günther , 1889; D’Ancona, 1933; Ben-Tuvia, 1962, 1971; Demetropoulos & Neocleous, 1969; Tortonese, 1970; Wheeler, 1973; Berdar et al., 1977; Bauchot & Pras, 1980). A single report of M. gracilis from Turkey was evaluated as doubtful (for full account, see Bilecenoglu et al., 2002).

Results of previous studies indicated that the species mainly occurs at depths between 100 and 450 m (Ehrich, 1976; Papaconstantinou & Tsimenides, 1979; Assis, 1993). Its growth pattern is similar to its congeneric species, with a short life span (five years) and a rapid attainment of maximum size (Borges, 2000). The feeding strategy of M. gracilis is selective both in the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans; individuals prey heavily on planktonic crustaceans (ostracods and copepods), quite different from the benthic diet of M. scolopax (Brethes, 1979; Matthiessen et al., 2003; Miyazaki et al., 2004).

  • Murat Bilecenoglu (2006): Status of the genus Macroramphosus (Syngnathiformes: Centriscidae) in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Zootaxa 1273, 55-64: 58-60, URL:http://www.zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:489D488F-6F25-4950-8FA4-8FDBF4C8AB00
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Biology

Found in a wide range of habitats, from near surface to near bottom and sometimes in huge schools (Ref. 2850). May range into coastal waters (Ref. 36711). Oviparous, with planktonic eggs and larvae (Ref. 36711). Seems to be sympatric with Macroramphosus scolopax (Linnaeus, 1758) all around the world (Ref. 89357).
  • Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray 1986 A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 354 p. (Ref. 7251)
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Distribution

Indo-Pacific and Western Central Atlantic: Indo-West-Pacific: Africa through the tropical Pacific to Hawaii and Desventuradas Is. and Juan Fernandez Is. (Ref. 89357). Eastern Central Pacific: California, USA. Western Central Atlantic: Florida, USA and Bahamas to Cuba (Ref. 7251).
  • Tinker, S.W. 1978 Fishes of Hawaii, a handbook of the marine fishes of Hawaii and the Central Pacific Ocean. Hawaiian Service Inc., Honolulu. 568 p. (Ref. 583)
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Circumglobal, including Mediterranean Sea, Hawaiian Islands.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 4 - 7; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10 - 13; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 18 - 19; Vertebrae: 23 - 24
  • Watson, W. 1996 Centriscidae: snipefishes and shrimpfishes. p. 725-727. In H.G. Moser (ed.) The early stages of fishes in the California Current Region. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Atlas No. 33. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 1505 p. (Ref. 36711)
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Size

Maximum size: 150 mm TL
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Max. size

15.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 2850))
  • Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann 1983 A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 336 p. (Ref. 2850)
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Diagnostic Description

Branchiostegal rays: 4 (Ref. 36710).
  • Watson, W. 1996 Centriscidae: snipefishes and shrimpfishes. p. 725-727. In H.G. Moser (ed.) The early stages of fishes in the California Current Region. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Atlas No. 33. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 1505 p. (Ref. 36711)
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Type Information

Type for Macroramphosus gracilis
Catalog Number: USNM 51582
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Year Collected: 1902
Locality: South Coast of Oahu Island. Honolulu Light, N. 2 degrees, E. 2.4', Oahu, Hawaii, United States, Hawaiian Islands, Pacific
Depth (m): 386
Vessel: Albatross
  • Type:
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

pelagic-oceanic; marine; depth range 50 - 500 m (Ref. 58302), usually 50 - 150 m (Ref. 58302)
  • Mundy, B.C. 2005 Checklist of the fishes of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Bishop Museum Bulletins in Zoology. Bishop Mus. Bull. Zool. (6):1-704. (Ref. 58302)
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Depth range based on 11 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 9 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 45.72 - 2100
  Temperature range (°C): 3.889 - 18.251
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.390 - 21.649
  Salinity (PPS): 34.511 - 35.779
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.770 - 5.134
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.212 - 1.469
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.261 - 27.515

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 45.72 - 2100

Temperature range (°C): 3.889 - 18.251

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.390 - 21.649

Salinity (PPS): 34.511 - 35.779

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.770 - 5.134

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.212 - 1.469

Silicate (umol/l): 2.261 - 27.515
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Trophic Strategy

Found in a wide range of habitats, from near surface to near bottom and sometimes in huge schools (Ref. 2850). May range into coastal waters (Ref. 36711).
  • Mundy, B.C. 2005 Checklist of the fishes of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Bishop Museum Bulletins in Zoology. Bishop Mus. Bull. Zool. (6):1-704. (Ref. 58302)
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Oviparous (Ref. 36711).
  • Watson, W. 1996 Centriscidae: snipefishes and shrimpfishes. p. 725-727. In H.G. Moser (ed.) The early stages of fishes in the California Current Region. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Atlas No. 33. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 1505 p. (Ref. 36711)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Macroramphosus gracilis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Wikipedia

Slender snipefish

The slender snipefish or snipefish (Macroramphosus gracilis) is a snipefish of the genus Macroramphosus. It is found in tropical oceans around the world at depths of 50 to 500 m (160 to 1,640 ft). Its length is up to 15 cm (5.9 in).

References[edit]

  • Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Macroramphosus gracilis" in FishBase. May 2006 version.
  • Tony Ayling & Geoffrey Cox, Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand, (William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand 1982) ISBN 0-00-216987-8
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