Marine Biodiversity of Southern Sydney Harbour's Journal

Journal archives for March 2024

March 07, 2024

Photo Observation of the Month of February - What are you, eel?






Congratulations to Erik Schogl, once again, for his amazing Photo Observation of the Month of February of the Southern Conger, at least provisionally, in what appears to be a hidey hole in Parsley Bay.

The Southern Conger (Conger verreauxi) is taxonomically stable and has 239 records on Atlas of Living Australia, of which only one record is from Sydney Harbour (in the upper reaches of Middle Harbour). Some of its congeners however, specifically the Eastern Conger (previously known as Conger wilsoni), is much more taxonomically ambiguous. According to John Pogonoski, an Ichthyologist and eel expert at the CSIRO Australian National Fish Collection in Hobart, and following Smith & Stewart (2015), the Australian Faunal Directory recognises Conger monganius (Philipps, 1932) as the valid name for the Eastern Conger. Conger monganius was described from NZ. This months observation is particularly challenging to identify as the placement of the dorsal fin origin in relation to the pectoral fin cannot be seen, which is one of the key characters distinguishing the Southern Conger (C. verreauxi) from its congeners. Indeed, for C. verreauxi, the dorsal fin origin commences at or slightly behind the tip of the pectoral fins. On the other hand, in C. monganius, the dorsal fin origin is well behind the tip of the pectoral fins. Conger verreauxi (153-159) also has more vertebrae than Conger monganius (145-151), noting that colour is a less reliable character to use as it can be variable in all species. There are likely additional Conger species awaiting formal description across Australia's temperate coastline. Thankfully we have a few motivated taxonomists in Australia on the case!

This journal post was written by project leader and iNaturalist member, Dr Joseph DiBattista.

Posted on March 07, 2024 11:49 PM by joseph_dibattista joseph_dibattista | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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