Identification of Trichiurus (Pisces: Trichiuridae) Eggs and Larvae from Korea, with a Taxonomic Note

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  • ABSTRACT

    The hairtail (currently recognized as Trichiurus lepturus in Korea) is one of the most important commercial fish species in Korea, Japan, China, and Taiwan. Because the amount of catches has been steadily declining, we must determine the early life stages of the hairtail from the viewpoint of resource management. Furthermore, the taxonomic status of the hairtail is unclear among ichthyologists, potentially creating management difficulties. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare morphological and molecular information on eggs, larvae, and adults of hairtail from Korea with that of T. lepturus from the Atlantic Ocean, and to review the taxonomic status of the hairtail. A total of 510 base pairs of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase subunit I sequences of 12 eggs, 2 larvae, and 11 adults of the hairtail from the Korean waters clearly matched those of Trichiurus japonicus adults (d = 0.000-0.014) from the East China Sea rather than those of T. lepturus (d = 0.100-0.110) from the Atlantic Ocean. Our results also showed that larvae of the Korean hairtail are different than those in the Atlantic Ocean in having no melanophores along the ventral edge of the lower jaw. Therefore, our findings suggest that the hairtail in the Korean waters may not be T. lepturus, but T. japonicus.


  • KEYWORD

    Trichiurus japonicus , Trichiurus lepturus , Egg , Larvae , MtDNA COI , Korea

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  • [Fig. 1.] Sampling area of eggs, larvae and adults of the hairtail from Korea (circles: eggs; triangles: larvae; squares: adults).
    Sampling area of eggs, larvae and adults of the hairtail from Korea (circles: eggs; triangles: larvae; squares: adults).
  • [Table 1.] List of specimens of Trichiurus species including outgroup used for molecular analyses in the present study.
    List of specimens of Trichiurus species including outgroup used for molecular analyses in the present study.
  • [Fig. 2.] Neighbor joining tree based on partial mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase subunit I sequences, showing the relationships among eggs, larvae and adults of hairtail from Korea, and three Trichiurus species with one outgroup (Scomber japonicus). The tree was constructed using the Kimura-2 parameter model (Kimura, 1980) and 1,000 bootstrap replications. The bar indicates a genetic distance of 0.02.
    Neighbor joining tree based on partial mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase subunit I sequences, showing the relationships among eggs, larvae and adults of hairtail from Korea, and three Trichiurus species with one outgroup (Scomber japonicus). The tree was constructed using the Kimura-2 parameter model (Kimura, 1980) and 1,000 bootstrap replications. The bar indicates a genetic distance of 0.02.
  • [Fig. 3.] Egg diameter frequency of the hairtail from Korea.
    Egg diameter frequency of the hairtail from Korea.
  • [Fig. 4.] Egg development of the hairtail from Korea. (A) Middle formation stage of embryo, stellate shaped melanophores were diagonally distributed on the fin folds, 1.74 mm ED. (B) Fully formation stage of embryo, stellate shaped melanophores were changed to branch shaped melanophores, 1.79 mm ED. Scale bar = 0.5 mm.
    Egg development of the hairtail from Korea. (A) Middle formation stage of embryo, stellate shaped melanophores were diagonally distributed on the fin folds, 1.74 mm ED. (B) Fully formation stage of embryo, stellate shaped melanophores were changed to branch shaped melanophores, 1.79 mm ED. Scale bar = 0.5 mm.
  • [Fig. 5.] Larval development of the hairtail from Korea. (A) Lateral view of larva of 5.5 mm total length (TL). (B) lateral view of larva of 14.9 mm TL. (C) lateral view of larva of 26.7 mm TL. The arrows indicate the location of the anus. Scale bars = 1.0 mm.
    Larval development of the hairtail from Korea. (A) Lateral view of larva of 5.5 mm total length (TL). (B) lateral view of larva of 14.9 mm TL. (C) lateral view of larva of 26.7 mm TL. The arrows indicate the location of the anus. Scale bars = 1.0 mm.
  • [Table 2.] Proportional measurements of larvae and adults between Trichiurus japonicus and Trichiurus lepturus
    Proportional measurements of larvae and adults between Trichiurus japonicus and Trichiurus lepturus