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Author: Delaroche, 1809

Ariosoma balearicum Delaroche, 1809

Diagnosis: snake-like body, not very compressed except in caudal extremity; anus slightly anterior to midpoint of body. Eye large, inter-orbital space very narrow. Anterior nostril opening in a short tube, near snout tip; posterior nostril a round or oval pore, midway between eye and anterior nostril. Mouth rictus at level of anterior edge or centre of eye, snout slightly prominent, labial flange not very developed. In both jaws teeth conical, sharp, cardiform; premaxillary teeth longer, visible in part when mouth is closed. Gill openings lateral, slightly crescentiform. Dorsal and anal fins high, dorsal fin origin at about the level of pectoral base. Lateral line: 43-53 preanal pores; 9 prepectoral; 3 supra-temporal pores. Vertebrae: total 121-135; abdominal 65-67. Colour: yellow to ochre with well-spaced, small yellowish-red patches; dorsal and anal fins edged with black. Size: to 50 cm.

Habitat: benthic, on the shelf, littoral, burrowing in galeries on sandy mud bottoms at 20-100 m. Food: carnivorous. Reproduction: warm hydrological season; larval life of about 20-22 months (Blache, 1977); metamorphosis at about 20 cm.

Distribution: eastern tropical Atlantic and Mediterranean. Elsewhere, western tropical Atlantic, Red Sea and western Indian Ocean.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Bonaparte, 1845: 40 | Costa, 1846: 2, pl. 31 (Helmichthys diaphanus) | Kölliker, 1853a: 360 | Kaup, 1856b: 148, pl. 17 (fig. 9) (Leptocephalus taenia pro parte, Leptocephalus marginatus pro parte); 1860c: 272 | Facciolà, 1883a: 3-5, pl. 4 (fig. 1-2) (Leptocephalus affinis, Leptocephalus inornatus); 1883b: 147 | Bellotti, 1883: 171, 174, 179 | Raffaele, 1888: 69, pl. 5 (fig. 13-14) | Jordan & Davis, 1892: 665 | Grassi & Calandruccio, 1892: 378 | Facciolà, 1893a: 125; 1893b: 311; 1893c: 29, 58, 60; 1894a: 126, 173, 175, 219; 1894b: 135; 1895a: 39; 1895b: 220 | Grassi & Calandruccio, 1895: 5 | Cunningham, 1895a: 280 | Collett, 1896b: 153 (Leptocephalus dentex, non Cantor) | Grassi, 1896: 372 | Strömman, 1896: 16, pl. I (fig. 1-3) (Leptocephalus ekmani, Leptocephalus scheelei pro parte) | Facciolà, 1897a: 117; 1897b: 122 | Grassi, 1897c: 240 | Cunningham, 1897: 467 | Lo Bianco, 1899: 556 | Facciolà, 1901a: 45, 52, pl. 7 (fig. 1-5); 1901b: 258 | Eigenmann, 1902b: 39 | Facciolà, 1903: 187 | Schmidt, 1906a: 149 | Lo Bianco, 1909: 710 | Schmidt, 1912b: 332, pl. 4; 1912d: 39, 47, pl. 3 (fig. 5-6) | Murray & Hjort, 1912b: fig. 91 | Grassi, 1913: 9, 68, 71, 73, 197, pl. 3, pl. 12 (fig. 35) | Schmidt, 1913: 4 | Lea, 1913: 21, pl. 3 (no. 3) | Grassi, 1914a: 38-39 | Roule, 1914a: 5 | Schmidt, 1916: 15, fig. 8 | Roule, 1919: 103 | Roule & Angel, 1923: 8 | Bertin, 1926: tab. 6 | Fish, 1927: 307 | Ancona, 1928a: 517 | Roule & Angel, 1930: 114, pl. 6 (fig. 150) | Ancona, 1930: pl. 136 (fig. 2); 1931d: 110-113, fig. 80-83 | Bertin, 1936a: 2, fig. 1-3 | Sparta, 1938b: 6, fig. 11-17 | Thomopoulos, 1954: 7, fig. 12-13 | Castle, 1969: 16, 33, 37-38, 43 | Blache, 1977: 94 (leptocephali).
Otoliths (sagitta). Koken, 1888: 186 | Frost, 1926a: 102 | Campbell, 1929: 274 | Chaine, 1938a: 242 | Bauzá-Rullán, 1957: 41.

Balearic conger (Ariosoma balearicum)