Peristedion moluccense,

Van Oijen, Martien J. P., Kawai, Toshio & Loots, Ineke, 2013, Putative type specimens of Satyrichthys (Scorpaeniformes: Peristediidae) in the Bleeker collection of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands, Zootaxa 3670 (2), pp. 207-214: 210-212

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Peristedion moluccense


P. moluccense  in an unpublished manuscript by Bleeker

When Bleeker died in 1878, only nine volumes of his Atlas  had been printed. However, Bleeker by then had manuscripts for the unpublished parts in various states of completeness. Among the Bleeker material in the archives of Naturalis Biodiversity Center, an almost complete Latin and French manuscript on the Trigloidei was found. As the manuscript is essential to understand Bleeker’s concept of P. moluccense  and P. laticeps  and thus for the present study, we here give a translation of the part on Bleeker’s subfamily Peristethiformes [now Peristethiinae]:

“Subfamily Peristethiformes

Trigloïds with an octagonal body, covered with armed scales. Head strongly depressed, scaleless. Jaws toothless, gill opening continuing under the throat. A single undivided dorsal fin, anterior part, with flexible spines, shorter than posterior part. Pectoral fins with 4 branched rays, the lower part with 2 free, double rays, ventral fin with 5 branched rays, caudal fin with 10 branched rays.

Peristedion Lac.  = Octonus Raf. = Peristethus, Polycanthichthys, Satyrichthus Kp  = Peristethidion A. Dum.

Jaws toothless, lower jaw shorter. Snout strongly depressed, forked. Scales on the trunk in 4 longitudinal rows, scales on the back, flanks and tail armed with a spine-bearing ridge, scales on the belly not keeled or armed. Dorsal fins with 5 to 8 spines and 13 to 20 undivided rays, posterior rays of ventral fins much longer than other rays, anal fin with 13 to 21 undivided rays.

Remark. There are only eight proper species known of this genus. Peristedion  catafractum and brevirostre inhabit the Atlantic bassin, Peristedion orientale  and Rieffeli  the sea of China and Japan, Peristedion engyceros  lives on the coasts of the Sandwich islands, and the three other species occur in the sea of the Moluccas and Célébes. Of these species I only possess Peristedion moluccense  . They can be distinguished as indicated below.

I. Upper side of head armed with spines. Preopercular spine strong.

Preorbital-preopercular crest divided in rounded lobes. D. 5 / 13. P. 7. A. 13.

1. Peristedion prionocephalus Blkr.  = Peristhetidion prionocephalum A. Dum.

Preorbital-preopercular crest without lobes or indentations. Elongations of the snout converging. D. 8 / 16. P. 13. A. 17.

2. Peristedion moluccense Blkr 

II. Forehead and snout spineless. No preopercular spine. D. 8 / 18. A. 21.

3. Peristedion liorhynchus Blkr.  = Peristethus liorhynchus Günther 

In this manuscript Bleeker copied the original descriptions of P. prionocephalus Dumeril  and P. liorhynchus Günther. For  the description of P. moluccense  he adapted and extended his re-description ( Bleeker 1856 a). For a large part this description is an exact copy of Bleeker 1856 a. However, Bleeker left out the relative lengths of the pectoral, pelvic and caudal fins, but added, among others, more details on the scales. Furthermore the synonymy is extended. On the basis of the literature quoted in this list we can conclude that Bleeker made this description after 1873.

The unpublished description is translated as follows [changes with respect to Bleeker 1856 a in bold]:

Peristedion moluccense Blkr, N.  soort Sclerop. Nat. T. Ned. Ind. I p. 24; Act. Soc. Scient. Ind. Neerl. I Beschr vissch. Amb. p. 30. Atl. Tab. 422 Trigl. Tab 2 fig. 1.

A Peristedion  with a body that is octagonal anteriorly and tetragonal at the tail, depth of the body contained 6 to 7 times in its length. Head strongly depressed and strongly acute, width of head contained 1 ½ to 1 in its length, depth of head contained 2 ½ to 2 ½ times in its length. Eye diameter contained 5 ½ to 6 times in the length of the head. Preorbital bones protruding in front of the snout for a length slightly less to slightly more than the longitudinal eye diameter, converging in front, the protruding part flat, blunt, less than twice as long as basal width, contained nearly 3 times to more than 3 times in the distance between its tip and the eye. Preorbital-preopercular ridge undivided, not lobed in any cisures [This word has no meaning. Maybe Bleeker intended to write scissure the Latin word for cleft.], 3 short rostral spines, no orbital and suborbital spines, on each side one spine on the frontal, 2 occipital spines on each side. Six mandibular barbels on each side, arranged in two rows, those in the inner row simple, shorter than the pupil, anterior barbels in outer row simple, not much shorter than the eye, the posterior barbel more than twice as long as the eye, strongly branched. Preoperculum angle spine surpassing the base of the pectoral fin, gill cover with a large excision at the top, and two spines, the upper spine longer than the lower one. About 25 scales in a longitudinal row between the back of the head and the base of the caudal fin, 30 or 31 scales between the upper angle of the gill opening and the base of the caudal fin, about 20 on the lower part of the trunk, between the anus and the base of the caudal fin; 4 transverse scale rows; each of the scales on the back, flanks and tail with a spine-bearing ridge in the center, the 8 or 9 posterior scales in the lateral line with a serrated ridge rostrally and armed with a spine caudally; ventral scales wide, flat, slightly square, not armed: throat and postaxillar chest region naked. Dorsal fin rather deeply emarginate between the spinous and rayed part, spinous part higher than rayed part, but lower than the body, pectoral fins obtusely rounded, slightly longer than head without rostrum, free rays at the tip slightly swollen, the posterior [free] ray longer than the anterior one, anal fin convex, barely lower than rayed part of dorsal fin, caudal fin extended, slightly emarginate, with acute angles, shorter than head without rostrum. Body and fins pale pink, iris silver or pink, margin of pupil golden. Upper part of dorsal fin and lower part of anal fin yellowish

B. 7. D. 8 / 16 all simple P. 3 / 9 / 1 + 2 free V. 1 / 5. A. 17 all simple C. 1 / 10 / 1 plus the short adjacent ones.

Syn. Ikan Paring Ruysch, Coll nov. pisc. Amb. p. 32. tab 17 fig 2; Ren. Poiss. Mol. II tab. 14 fig 67. Ikan Seijthan merah Valent. Amb. Fig 55

Peristedion laticeps Schl. Beschr. N.  soort Vissch. Bijdr. Dierk. P. 43 tab. Peristethus gigas  et brevifurcatus Kp, Descr n. spec. Fish, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1859 p. 106. Peristethus moluccensis  et laticeps  Günth, Cat Fish II p. 219 Peristhethidion moluccense  , laticeps  et gigas  . A. Dum. Not. Trios Poiss Mus. N. Archiv. Mus. hist. nat. IV p. 112, 113.

Satyrichthys moluccensis  , laticeps  Kp., Triglid., Arch. Naturg. XXXIX. I. p. 83 Ananas  Ambon.

Hab. Amboina: Banda (Neira)  : in the sea.

Length of 5 specimens 270 ’’’ to 470 ’’’.

Remark. The Peristethus moluccense  , brevifurcatem, laticeps  and gigas  of other authors are only a single species of which the main characters are the convergence of the prolonged preorbitals, the spines on top of the head, the strong preoperculer spine, the numbers of armed body scales and the fin ray counts.”

Unfortunately the figure of one of the syntypes (or more likely of the fifth specimen from Ambon) referred to by Bleeker (op. cit.) is missing ( Boeseman 1983).