Identification of Trichiurus (Pisces: Trichiuridae) Eggs and Larvae from Korea, with a Taxonomic Note

  • Received : 2013.11.08
  • Accepted : 2013.12.22
  • Published : 2014.03.31


The hairtail (currently recognized as Trichiurus lepturus in Korea) is one of the most important commercial fish species in Korea, Japan, China, and Taiwan. Because the amount of catches has been steadily declining, we must determine the early life stages of the hairtail from the viewpoint of resource management. Furthermore, the taxonomic status of the hairtail is unclear among ichthyologists, potentially creating management difficulties. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare morphological and molecular information on eggs, larvae, and adults of hairtail from Korea with that of T. lepturus from the Atlantic Ocean, and to review the taxonomic status of the hairtail. A total of 510 base pairs of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase subunit I sequences of 12 eggs, 2 larvae, and 11 adults of the hairtail from the Korean waters clearly matched those of Trichiurus japonicus adults (d = 0.000-0.014) from the East China Sea rather than those of T. lepturus (d = 0.100-0.110) from the Atlantic Ocean. Our results also showed that larvae of the Korean hairtail are different than those in the Atlantic Ocean in having no melanophores along the ventral edge of the lower jaw. Therefore, our findings suggest that the hairtail in the Korean waters may not be T. lepturus, but T. japonicus.


Trichiurus japonicus;Trichiurus lepturus;Egg;Larvae;MtDNA COI;Korea


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