Occurrence of longfin goatfish Upeneus supravittatus (Uiblein and Heemstra, 2010) along Chennai coast, south India

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  • S. Gomathy Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute
  • E. Vivekanandan
  • Sandhya Sukumaran



 Goatfishes (Family: Mullidae) are commercially important fishery resource along the Chennai coast, south-eastern India.
Species-level identification of goatfishes is a challenge, particularly in the ‘vittatus’ group, as there is severe overlap
of taxonomic characteristics. In 2010, Uiblein and Heemstra revised the Family Mullidae and reported the occurrence
of Upeneus supravittatus along the Indian coast. They also remarked that U. supravittatus has been misidentified as
U. taeniopterus in earlier reports from India. To resolve this and verify the occurrence of U. supravittatus, 15 morphometric
characteristics and 13 meristic characteristics of goatfish samples collected at Chennai were analysed and compared with
the corresponding data reported by Uiblein and Heemstra for U. taeniopterus and four other ‘vittatus’ group goat fishes. The
analysis, as well as DNA bar coding and area of distribution of species confirmed the samples as Upeneus supravittatus.
The gill raker count on the upper and lower limbs of first gill arch was an important key in identifying the species. Though
the number of gill rakers was almost similar for U. supravittatus, U. vittatus and U. taeniopterus, the size and position of
the gill rakers confirmed that the collected samples were all U. supravittatus. The study also indicates the possibility that
U. supravittatus has been hitherto wrongly reported as U. taeniopterus. A detailed taxonomic study on the Family Mullidae
needs to be undertaken along the Indian coast using morphometric and meristic characteristics and DNA barcoding to
resolve these taxonomic issues.

Keywords: DNA barcoding, Gill rakers, Species identification, ‘vittatus’ group


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How to Cite

S. Gomathy, Vivekanandan, E., & Sandhya Sukumaran. (2023). Occurrence of longfin goatfish Upeneus supravittatus (Uiblein and Heemstra, 2010) along Chennai coast, south India. Indian Journal of Fisheries, 70(1). https://doi.org/10.21077/ijf.2023.70.1.122905-07