Opistognathus cuvierii Valenciennes, 1836

Smith-Vaniz, William F., Tornabene, Luke & Macieira, Raphael M., 2018, Review of Brazilian jawfishes of the genus Opistognathus with descriptions of two new species (Teleostei, Opistognathidae), ZooKeys 794, pp. 95-133: 110-113

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Opistognathus cuvierii Valenciennes, 1836


Opistognathus cuvierii Valenciennes, 1836  Figures 14, 15; Tables 1, 2

Opisthognathus  [sic] cuvierii  Valenciennes in Cuvier and Valenciennes 1836: 504, color pl. 343 (original description; Bahia: holotype MNHN A. 2108); Roux 1964: 413, pl. 10 (listed; original illustration of holotype reproduced).

Opistognathus cuvierii  : Menezes and Figueiredo 1985: 42, fig. 47 (description); Smith-Vaniz 1997: 1106, fig. 21 (description); Pinheiro et al. 2018, Southwestern Atlantic (SWA) Endemic reef fishes - Annotated Checklist: 28-29, color fig. 18.

Opistognathus cuvieri  : Roux 1973: 151 (description); Carvalho-Filho 1999: 194 (abbreviated description and occurrence to São Paulo); Mincarone et al. 2017: 207 (listed).

Abbreviated description.

A species of Opistognathus  with the following combination of characters: anterior nostril a short tube with simple cirrus on posterior rim; adults with posterior end of maxilla ending as thin, flexible lamina (slightly elongate in mature females and very elongate in males); supramaxilla present; subopercle without a broad, fan-like flap; most of nape without sensory pores; dorsal-fin spines thin, flexible, usually curved distally, and tips without pale, slightly swollen tabs; dorsal fin XI, 16, with all soft rays weakly branched distally; anal fin II, 16; body with 60-72 oblique scale rows in longitudinal series; vertebrae 10+19; supraneurals 1 or 2; gill rakers 9 –11+20–23=30– 35; spinous dorsal fin with an ocellus between spines 3-7, otherwise dorsal fin with rows of pale spots and dorsum without 5 or 6 dusky bands that extend onto base of dorsal fin; pelvic fins uniformly dark; caudal fin dark with two pale bands; underside of upper jaw and adjacent membranes in adults with two dark blotches, the innermost one poorly developed (males) ( Smith-Vaniz 1997: fig. 9d), or these blotches absent (females); buccal pigmentation consisting of a dark blotch on either side of esophageal opening widely separated by pale median area that continues between upper pharyngeal tooth patches ( Smith-Vaniz 1997: fig. 13c).

Material examined.

5 specimens (80.5-11.5 mm SL), including the holotype, cited in Smith-Vaniz (1997).

Distribution, habitat, and natural history.

A Brazilian endemic (Figure 6), known from Bahia to São Paulo but absent from oceanic islands. Distributed in coastal regions, in depths between 1-35 meters, associated with gravel and sand or silt and sand bottoms, near coral reefs and rocky areas. This species has been observed resting on the bottom (Figure 14) or in burrows ( Pinto 1970).


The conservation status of this species has been assessed by the Ministério do Meio Ambiente/Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade (MMA/ICMBio - Brazil) and it was listed as Least Concern.