Notarius insculptus (Jordan and Gilbert 1883) , Ricardo Betancur-R. & Arturo Acero P., 2004

Ricardo Betancur-R. & Arturo Acero P., 2004, Description of Notarius biffi n. sp. and redescription of N. insculptus (Jordan and Gilbert) (Siluriformes: Ariidae) from the eastern Pacific, with evidence of monophyly and limits of Notarius, Zootaxa 703, pp. 1-20: 7-11

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Notarius insculptus (Jordan and Gilbert 1883)

new combination

Notarius insculptus (Jordan and Gilbert 1883)  new combination

Figs. 4-7

Arius insculptus Jordan and Gilbert 1883  ZBK  : 41-42. Syntypes: USNM 29415 (1), 30977 (2).

Arius elatturus Jordan and Gilbert 1883  ZBK  : 45-46. Holotype: USNM 29408 (not found in 1985). Paratype: USNM 30995.

Tachisurus insculptus  : Eigenmann and Eigenmann, 1888: 142.

Tachisurus elatturus  : Eigenmann and Eigenmann, 1888: 142.

Netuma insularum Greene in Gilbert 1897  ZBK  : 439-440. Holotype: USNM 47577.

Netuma insculpta  : Gilbert and Starks, 1904: 27; Meek and Hildebrand, 1923: 116-117.

Netuma elattura  : Gilbert and Starks, 1904: 29; Meek and Hildebrand, 1923: 115-116.

“Arius” kessleri  ZBK  non Steindachner: Kailola and Bussing, 1995: 869 (in part).

Arius kessleri  ZBK  non Steindachner:? Acero and Betancur-R., 2002: 137 (in part).

Hexanematichthys kessleri  (non Steindachner): Marceniuk and Ferraris, 2003: 451 (in part).

Lectotype. USNM 29415, female, 277 mm SL, collected by C.H. Gilbert, Panamá, PA. 

Paralectotypes. USNM 30977, female, 253 mm SL, unsexed specimen, 190 mm SL, collected prior to 3 July 1882 by Rowell, Panamá, PA. 

Other material. USNM 30995 (paratype of Arius elatturus  ZBK  ), male, 260 mm SL, collected by Rowell, Panamá, PA  ; USNM 47577 (holotype of Netuma insularum  ZBK  ), female, 231 mm SL, Albatross vessel, station 2800, Golfo de Panamá, PA [erroneous locality Galapagos Islands, corrected by Snodgrass and Heller (1905)]  ; USNM 216986 (formerly 170833), male, 241 mm SL  , USNM 216987 (formerly 170833), male, 213 mm SL, collected in August 1888, Albatross vessel, Isla Clarión, Revillagigedo, Mexico (locality probably erroneous)  ; USNM 38272, female, 255 mm SL, collected in June 1885, Panamá, PA  ; USNM 79424, female, 272 mm SL, collected by S.E. Meek and S.F. Hildebrand, 4 February 1912, Balboa, Panamá, PA  ; STRI 5715 (stri 17958), female, 236 mm SL, collected by D.R. Robertson, June 2003, R/V Urraca, Isla Gobernadora, Veraguas, PA (7°34’ N, 81°12’ W), Cyt b, ATPase 8 and ATPase 6 sequences are available in GenBank, accession numbers AY68866, AY688653 and AY688640, respectively  .

Diagnosis. Notarius insculptus  is distinguished from other EP species of Notarius  ZBK  by the following combination of features: highly developed, sculptured epioccipital bones, forming with the supraoccipital a complex process that is very wide at its base and tapers drastically posteriorly (Fig. 6); supraoccipital process length 0.7-0.9 (mean 0.8) in the base of the complex process; predorsal plate narrow and crescent-shaped; large mouth, its width 45.8-54.8% (mean 49.6%) HL; and long maxillary barbels, reaching beyond pectoral fin bases, their length 26.7-30.3% (mean 28.0%) SL. The combination of the following characters also distinguish this species from other EP ariids: triangular humeral process, three pairs of barbels present, fleshy furrow between posterior nostrils absent, fleshy groove in median depression of head absent, coarse to sharp granules or spinulations on anterior surface of head shield absent, and gill rakers on rear surfaces of first two gill arches absent. Meristic and morphometric data of the material examined are summarized in Table 2.

Description. (based on combined data from type and nontype material) Body depth 5.4-6.5 in SL; body width 4.4-4.9 in SL. Head relatively broad, anteriorly depressed; length 3.4-3.9 in SL, larger in males (3.3-3.4 in SL) than females (3.8-3.9 in SL); width 1.1-1.3 in HL; depth 1.6-2.0 in HL. Snout rounded, length 3.0-3.5 in HL. Mouth inferior to subterminal. Lips thin to moderately thick, upper lip width 14.0-29.6 in HL, thicker in females (14.0-20.3 in HL) than males (one specimen 29.6 in HL). Mandibulary barbels 5.7-7.8 in SL. Mental barbels 8.8-11.2 in SL. Distance between anterior nostrils large, 3.4-4.3 in HL. Distance between posterior nostrils large, 3.4-4.3 in HL. Interorbital distance large, 1.9-2.3 in HL. Eye relatively large, diameter 6.3-6.9 in HL, 1.5-2.0 in distance between anterior nostrils, and 2.8-3.6 in interorbital distance. Postorbital length 1.8- 2.1 in HL. Head shield exposed, covered posteriorly with scattered granules, extending anteriorly to opposite the eyes. Frontal depression broad. Supraoccipital process keeled, length 3.7-5.5 in HL and 14.7-18.4 in SL; complex process width 3.4-3.6 in HL and 12.3-13.8 in SL. Premaxillary tooth patches with villiform teeth. Palatine teeth villiform arranged in three pair of patches: a rounded to ovate inner pair, an ovate anterior lateral pair, larger than the inner pair, and a backward elongated triangular to trapezoidal lateral posterior pair, which is the largest of the three patches; the divisions between the patches clearly (juveniles and adult males, Fig. 7A) to barely (adult females, Fig. 7B) visible. Predorsal fin length 2.7-2.9 in SL. Dorsal fin base 8.7-11.2 in SL, dorsal fin spine height 4.6- 4.8 in SL. Distance between dorsal fin and adipose fin 3.2-3.9 in SL. Base of adipose fin 7.6-9.5 in SL, as long as, or somewhat longer than base of dorsal fin; height of adipose fin 9.3-12.6 in SL. Pectoral fin base 16.9-19.0 in SL; pectoral fin spine length 4.6-4.7 in SL, its inner margin serrated. Humeral process more developed in females (Ihp 1.5-1.6) than in males (Ihp 1.0-1.1). Pelvic fin base 20.1-21.4 in SL in females and 29.9 in SL in males (one specimen); pelvic fin length 4.8-5.5 in SL in females and 6.5-7.6 in SL in males. Anal fin base 6.3-6.9 in SL; anal fin height 4.8-6.4 in SL. Caudal peduncle depth 14.0- 16.5 in SL. Dorsal fin elements I,7; pectoral fin elements I,11; pelvic fin elements 6; anal fin elements 20-21; gill rakers on first arch 3+8-9; gill rakers on second arch 3-4+7-9; postweberian vertebrae 48-51.

Coloration. In life, dorsum brownish grey with metallic tinges, flanks and venter whitish; lower caudal fin lobe and tip of anal fin dark. In alcohol, brownish on dorsum, paler below.

Size. Largest specimen examined 275 mm SL and 325 mm TL (lectotype).

Distribution. The species has been recorded only from the Pacific coast of Panamá. Since no ariids are so far known to occur in atolls, the presence of the species in Revillagigedo, as indicated by the collecting data of the Albatross lot USNM 170833, seems unlikely.

Habitat. Known from coastal waters, no other data is available.

Common names. We propose the official English common name of “neglected sea catfish ”. We also propose “cominata olvidada” (Spanish) and “ mâchoiron négligé ” (French).


USA, Washington D.C., National Museum of Natural History, [formerly, United States National Museum]


Panama, Balboa, (via USA, Florida, Miami), Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute