Confirmed Record of Whitebarred Rubberlip, Plectorhinchus playfairi (Pellegrin, 1914) (Pisces: Haemulidae) from Jubail, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Gulf  

Laith A. Jawad , Mustafa Ibrahim
1. Flat Bush, Manukau, Auckland, New Zealand
2. Ministry of Agriculture, Fish Welfare Branch, El- Jubail Province, Saudia Arabia
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Marine Science, 2014, Vol. 4, No. 21   doi: 10.5376/ijms.2014.04.0021
Received: 21 Jan., 2014    Accepted: 27 Feb., 2014    Published: 19 Mar., 2014
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Jawad and Ibrahim, 2014, Confirmed Record of Whitebarred Rubberlip, Plectorhinchus playfairi (Pellegrin, 1914) (Pisces: Haemulidae) from Jubail, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Gulf, International Journal of Marine Science, Vol.4, No.21 194-196 (doi: 10.5376/ijms.2014.04.0021)

The first record of Plectorhinchus playfairi from the Arabian Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia is reported based on one specimen (270 mm TL) collected from the waters around the coasts of Jubail City. This species has not been recorded from this area although it has been recorded recently from the Iraqi waters of the Arabian Gulf. This account represents a confirmation for the presence of P. playfairi in the Arabian Gulf area and first record for the Saudi Arabian waters of the gulf. Morphometric and meristic data are provided for specimen, comparing with published data.
Arabian Gulf; New records; Saudi Arabia; Range extension

The work of Blegvad (1944) marks the birth of modern fish taxonomy in the Arabian Gulf. Since then, several significant works have been published to describe the fish fauna of the different countries in the area (White and Barwani, 1971; Kuronuma and Abe, 1972, 1986; Relyea, 1981; Fischer and Bianchi, 1984; Hussain et al., 1988; Randall, 1995).

The fish fauna of Saudi Arabian coasts of the Arabian Gulf is among the aquatic vertebrates that receive little attention from the taxonomists. Therefore, there is an absence of a comprehensive and extensive work that contains this fauna at present. However, only few noteworthy publications have been published on this part of the Arabian Gulf coasts (McCain et al., 1984; Coles and Tarr, 1990; Krupp and Anegay, 1993; Krupp and Müller, 1995; Krupp and Al-Marri, 1996).
Plectorhinchusplayfairiis reported from the Red Sea and southern Oman to South Africa and Madagascar (Froese and Pauly, 2014). It is a tropical and reef-associated species living in depth reaching 80 m (Lieske and Myers, 1994). In the Arabian Gulf, this species has been recently reported from the Iraqi waters, north west region of the Arabian Gulf (Jawad and Al-Badri, in press). The present record of P. playfairiis the second from the Arabian Gulf waters and this finding comes as a result of recent fish taxonomic work in the Saudi Arabian coasts of the Arabian Gulf as a part of program to identify fish species and their status of health by the Fish Welfare Branch, Ministry of Agriculture, Saudi Arabia.
1 Materials and Methods
On 20 November 2013, single specimen of the whitebarred rubberlip, Plectorhinchusplayfairi (Figure 1) was collected at Jubail City on the Arabian Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia. The specimen was caught by fishermen using 30 x 10 m drifting gill nets of 25 mm mesh size fishing in the vicinity of Jubail city, Saudi Arabia and handed over to Ministry of Agriculture officials through their twice a week visits to fish landing areas and fish markets in Jubail. The fisherman usually makes three to five hauls per hour. The fish measured with dial callipers to the nearest 0.1 mm and weighted to the nearest 1g.Body measurements excluding predorsal length (from tip of snout to the anterior edge of the dorsal fin), postdorsal length (from tip of snout to the posterior edge of dorsal fin), preanus length (from tip of snout to the anterior edge of anus), and caudal peduncle length (the vertical distance of the caudal peduncle area) were made using method suggested in Fischer and Bianchi (1984) (Table 1). The specimen was then fixed in 10% formalin and later preserved in 70% ethanol for deposit in the fish collection of the Fish Welfare Branch, Ministry of Agriculture, Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia.


Figure 1 Plectorhinchus playfairi, 270 mm TL


Table 1 Morphometric and meristic characters of Plectorhinchus playfairi collected from Jubail, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Gulf (TL, total; HL, head length; SL standard length)

2 Results
The specimen, P. playfairihas a total length of 270 mm with a weight 430 g. The morphometric and meristic characters (Table 1) appeared to be similar to those given by Randall (1995). The set of characteristics as described were:fleshy lips getting swollen in large specimens; six pores on chin with no median pit; number of gillrakers on first arch range from 32 to 34; ctenoid scales; and lateral line has about 58 to 60 tubed scales. The main body colouration is greyish with four narrow white cross bars. The base of pectoral fin black, mouth and lips are pink. Dorsal fin spines and edge of opercle with red tips.
3 Recent scientific name and synonyms
Plectorhinchus playfairi.
Diagramma griseum playfairi Pellegrin, 1914:233, Playfair & Günther 1867:26.
4 Remarks
According to Randall (1995), Froese and Pauly (2014), P. playfairi has never been recorded in the Arabian Gulf waters. On the other hand, Fisher and Bianchi (1984) and Carpenter et al. (1997) did not focus on fauna of Saudi Arabia. Recently, Jawad and Al-Badri (in press) recorded this species from the Iraqi waters of the Arabian Gulf. Several studies were done in Saudi Arabian waters by these listed authors (McCain et al. 1984, Krupp and Anegay, 1993; Krupp and Müller, 1994; Krupp and Al-Marri, 1996), but P. playfairi not reported in these publications and authors report new record for the Saudi Arabia and confirmed record for Arabian Gulf.
In the Arabian Gulf area, there are four species of the genus Plectorhinchus, these P. cinctus, P. flavomaculatus, P. schotaf and P. sordidus (Froese and Pauly, 2014) . The two species of Plectorhinchus that are morphologically very close to P. playfairi are P. schotaf and P. sordidusPlectorhinchus schotaf differs from this species in having soft part of dorsal fin always longer than spinous part (shorter in P. playfairi); no white cross-bars on body; gillrakers on first arch 15 or 16. The other members of the genus Plectorhinchus, P. sordidus has 17 or 18 soft dorsal rays; gill rakers on the first arch 14 or 15; no white cross bars. The other Plectorhinchus species lack the characteristic white bars (Fischer and Bianchi, 1984).
Plectorhinchus playfairican attain lengths of 900 mm (Smith and Mckay, 1986). There are few records of this species with standard or total lengths. Froese & Pauly (2014) reported a specimen of 153 mm standard length; this specimen is smaller than the specimen obtained in the present study (230 mm SL). On the other hand, it is smaller than that reported by Randall (1995) (500 mm TL), by Currie et al. (2012) (900 mm TL) and by Jawad and Al-Badri (in press) (432-518 mm TL). The size of this species reported from the Iraqi waters is far larger than that of the present specimen. This might be due the habitat differences where in the Iraqi waters, there is a clear effect of the freshwater load laid by the Tigris, Euphrates and Shatt al-Arab Rivers which might affect in turn the food availability in this area.
The importance of the present record of P. playfairi comes as a result of ichthyologic collections in the area and the small number of species of the family Haemulidae in Saudi waters. This species reported in this study is never before recorded in the fish fauna literature of the Saudi coasts of the Arabian Gulf (Fischer and Bianchi, 1984; McCain et al., 1984; Coles and Tarr, 1990; Krupp and Anegay, 1993; Krupp and Müller, 1994; Krupp and Al-Marri, 1996; Carpenter et al., 1997). The reason why P. playfairi was not recorded before in the Saudi Arabian coasts of the Arabian Gulf might be that it is rare in the area and/or that a lack of an adequate sampling. Presently, the use of diverse fish sampling techniques in the area, including scuba diving and underwater photography, has already ended the reputed rarity of several species (Jawad and Al-Mamry, 2009). However, this is not yet realized for P. playfairi in Saudi Arabia. Thus, it is premature to assess whether the presence of one individual of P. playfairi in Saudi Arabia is an established population.
The discovery of this paper suggests that there is a need to do further investigation regarding the distribution and frequency of occurrence of P. playfairi including its population biology. However, if it was found out that their occurrence is rare, then there is a need to use other parameters as proxies to avoid harvesting of the species in question which will further contribute negatively to its status.
Our sincere thank is due to the Fish Welfare Branch, Al-Jubail, Ministry of Agriculture, Saudi Arabia for presenting the fish specimen and the Fish Welfare Branch at Jubail City, Saudi Arabia for giving us the opportunity to report this species from the Saudi waters.
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