Apterichtus australis McCosker & Randall 2005

Hibino, Yusuke, 2015, A review of the finless snake eels of the genus Apterichtus (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae), with the description of five new species, Zootaxa 3941 (1), pp. 49-78: 55-56

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Apterichtus australis McCosker & Randall 2005


Apterichtus australis McCosker & Randall 2005 

Table 1

Apterichtus australis McCosker & Randall 2005: 2 View Cited Treatment   , Fig. 1View FIGURE 1 a (type locality Easter Island, holotype BPBM 12306). Apterichtus flavicaudus  (non Snyder 1904): McCosker & Stewart 2006: 92 ( New Zealand specimen).

Diagnosis. An elongate species with: tail 1.8–2.2, head 18–20, and body depth 67–83 in total length; snout sharply pointed in lateral view, dorsal profile ca. 30 o above lower jaw; 3 preopercular pores and 3 pores in supratemporal canal; teeth conical, uniserial on jaws and vomer; 5–10 vomerine teeth; body mostly pale in preservative, creamy dorsally and reddish-brown ventrally with light and dark head markings in life; and MVF 82–164, total vertebrae 162–167 (n= 14).

Size. The largest specimen examined is 570 mm, a female.

Distribution. Known from Japan and the south Pacific island groups of Rapa, Pitcairn, Easter, New Zealand, and possibly Lord Howe. It was captured over sand with associated rock and coral reef bottoms using ichthyocides and dredges between 12–100 m depth.

Remarks. This species is most similar to to A. flavicaudus ( Snyder 1904)  and may ultimately be determined to be conspecific. At this time we are unable to synonymize them with confidence and we will continue to recognize them as valid.

McCosker and Stewart (2006) reported upon a large female specimen collected from the Northland, New Zealand, as Apterichtus flavicaudus  . The specimen, however, has 8 vomerine teeth. Additional information that we have accumulated concerning the vomerine dentition of Apterichtus  would result in its reidentification as A. australis  .

Doubilet (1990: 26) published a superb color photograph of the head and throat (the cephalic pores are obvious) of an individual protruding from the sand bottom off Sagami Bay, Japan. It was identified as Apterichtus flavicaudus  , however we feel that it is an A. australis  . Hatooka (1995) recorded a specimen as A. flavicaudus  from Sagami Bay which Hibino reidentified as A. australis  ; it has 164 total vertebrae, 84 preanal pores, and five vomerine teeth. Numerous subsequent photographs of Apterichtus  were subsequently taken by divers between 12 and 28 m depth at Suruga and Sagami Bay (http://fishpix.kahaku.go.jp/fishimage-e/). We feel that those underwater photographs taken of Apterichtus  are identifiable as A. australis  .

Material examined. 15 specimens, 137–570 mm TL, including the holotype ( BPBM 12306, 395 mm TL). In addition to the specimens listed in McCosker and Randall (2005: 2) is NMNZ P 35151View Materials, 570 mm (580 mm prepreservation), from New Zealand, Spirits Bay, Northland (34 ° 23.4 ’S, 172 ° 48.1 ’E), station depth and date not recorded.


Bishop Museum


Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa














Apterichtus australis McCosker & Randall 2005

Hibino, Yusuke 2015

Apterichtus australis

McCosker 2006: 92
McCosker 2005: 2