Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


Four of 29 previously described nominal species of Symphurus are junior synonyms; one sub-species (S. p. plagusia) is accorded full species status (S. tessellatus); two undescribed dwarf species are present in the eastern Atlantic; three new species were found among western Atlantic material; and several Atlantic forms are represented in the eastern Pacific by cognate species. Detailed and expanded descriptions, differential diagnoses, artificial keys and updated ecological information are provided for 29 species occurring in the Atlantic Ocean. Preliminary evidence based upon osteological characters, including interdigitation patterns (ID) of dorsal pterygiophores with neural spines, urohyal shape, caudal skeleton, dentition and other morphological characters, indicates the existence of eight supra-specific lineages among the 66 nominal species of Symphurus. Species groupings are also supported by zoogeographical and ecological distributional patterns. Seven species groups are represented among the Atlantic Symphurus.



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