The ear stone shape found in parrotfish reveal differences between species
Laith A. Jawad, one of the authors of ‘Morphology study of the otoliths of the parrotfish, Chlorurus sordidus (Forsskål, 1775) and Hipposcarus harid (Forsskål, 1775) from the Red Sea coast of Egypt (Family: Scaridae)’ recently published in JMBI provides us further insight into this research. The full paper is freely available to download until 31st March 2017.
What inspired this work?
The lack of otolith morphology for both taxonomic and fisheries purposes for the fish species in the Red Sea was the main reason to take up this study, which is considered the first step for further similar studies on other commercial and non-commercial fish species from the same area.
What do you hope will be the lasting impact of this paper?
I expect that the results of this paper will have good responses from scientists who are in need for such information. The two parrotfish species that I have studied might be distinguishable externally, but adding extra morphological characters might be useful for their phylogenetic relationship with the other species in the same family.
The results are also useful for several other fields of studies like the food and feeding habits of fish, marine birds and marine mammals, where the identity and size of the prey can be revealed by the shape and measurements of the otolith found in the stomach of those animals. The marine geologists will find it useful to know the fish species that their otolith might be found in the sediments from the area. Studying the shape of the otolith in fish specimens of different sizes will enable scientists to know the gradual changes in the shape of the otolith. In several occasions, fish biologists and geologists have mistakably described a new species on bases of otolith that appeared latter on were otolith of young individuals that their otolith shape is already known. Archaeologists studying the social habits of ancient people living in the coastal areas will find the results of this paper useful resources to know the fish species that those ancient people preferred to eat.
Was there anything that surprised you about the results?
What surprised me about the results was that the differences between the two species according to their external feature are depicted in the shape of their otolith.