New Record of the Keeltail Pomfret, Taractes rubescens (Jordan & Evermann, 1887) (Perciformes: Bramidae) from the Sea of Oman  

Laith A. Jawad1 , Juma M. Al-Mamry2 , Haithem K. Al-Busaidi2
1. Manukau City, Auckland, New Zealand
2. Marine Science and Fisheries centre, Ministry of agriculture and Fisheries, Muscat, Oman
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Marine Science, 2014, Vol. 4, No. 25   doi: 10.5376/ijms.2014.04.0025
Received: 13 Feb., 2014    Accepted: 19 Mar., 2014    Published: 27 Apr., 2014
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Jawad et al., 2014, New record of the keeltail pomfret, Taractes rubescens (Jordan & Evermann, 1887) (Perciformes: Bramidae) from the Sea of Oman, International Journal of Marine Science, Vol.4, No.25 227-230 (doi: 10.5376/ijms.2014.04.0025)

A specimen of the keeltail pomfret Taractes rubescens (890 mm) was collected from off the coast ofMuscat City, Sultanate of Oman on the Sea of Oman and constitutes the first record inthe Sea of Oman and northern extension in its range. 
Sea of Oman; New records; Keeltail pomfret; Range extension

The Family Bramidae comprises 20 species in seven genera (Mead, 1972; Mundy, 2005; Thompson, 2003). Although the members of the Family Bramidae are distributed world-wide, the only record of a bramid species from the northwestern Indian Ocean is that of Ali and McNoon (2010) from the Aden Gulf, Arabian Sea., No previous record of any members of the family Bramidae is present in the Omani waters (Randall, 1995; Manilo and Bogorodsky, 2003).

In this paper we report on the occurrence of the keeltail pomfret, Taractes rubescens in the waters of Sea of Oman. This record represents the north east extension of the distribution of this species, the second record of a bramid species in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and the first record for the Omani waters.
Materials and Methods
The specimen was obtained by long line at 200 m depth over sandy-muddy bottom off the coast of Muscat City in the Sea of Oman (Figure 1). Morphometric and meristic detailswere recorded following Fischer and Bianchi (1984) and Carvalho-Filo et al. (2009); the data are presented in Table 1. Standard length (SL), from tip of snout to base of caudal fin, was used for proportional measurements, and total length (TL) for the maximum length of specimens. Fish specimen was fixed in 10% formalin and stored in 70% ethanol. Measurements were made with ruler dial callipers to the nearest cm. Thespecimen was deposited in the fish collection ofthe Marine Science and Fisheries Centre, Ministryof Fisheries Wealth, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman,catalogue number OMMSTC 1230.


Figure 1 Site of collection of Taractes rubescens from the Sea of Oman, Sultanate of Oman

Taractesrubescens (Jordan & Evermann, 1887) (Figure 2, a,b; Table 1).


Figure 2 Taractes rubescens (890 mm TL), A, whole fish; B, anterior part; C, tail and keel


Table 1 Morphometric and meristic characters of Taractes rubescens collected from Sea of Oman (TL=total length, SL=standard length, HL=head length, Kg=kilogram)

rubescens Jordan & Evermann 1887:467 [type locality: Off Pensacola, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, U. S. A.
Materials examined
One female specimen, 890 mm TL, OMMSTC 1230, the Sea of Oman, 23° 32′58.36″ N; 58° 45′42.85″ E, 7th Oct. 2013.
The keeltail pomfret specimen (Figure 2, a) has the following set of characters: fusiform and compressed body with straight dorsal profile of head and pointed snout. Well-developed precaudal groove with strong and well developed lateral keel. Long pectoral fin extends to anterior anal fin rays. Cycloid scales on sides of body. Caudal fin with falcate posterior profile of upper lobe. The outer border of the caudal fin’s lower lobe shaped like an “S”. Color is almost black to dark brown with bronze to silver sheen, belly somewhat lighter. Fins dark color with silvery sheen. Caudal fin with a posterior white margin less discernible on upper lobe. Morphometric and meristic details are given and compared with specimens reported from elsewhere in Table 1. The Keeltail pomfret, T. rubescens differs from its congener T. asper in having the prominent peduncle scutes in a shape of keel, long pectoral fin, color pattern and meristic characters.

Taractes rubescens was described for the first time from the Gulf of Mexico by Jordan and Evermann in 1887 and recorded in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and widely distributed in tropical waters (Masuda et al., 1984). Recently reported in Aden Gulf, Arabian Sea (Ali and McNoon, 2010). In the present work, this species is reported from the Sea of Oman.
The size of the Omani specimen of the keeltail pomfret lies within that given by Ali and McNoon (2010) for specimens collected from Aden Gulf and its standard length is larger than that reported by Carvalho-Filo et al. (2009) for single specimen caught in the Brazilian waters of the West Atlantic Ocean. The other morphometric characters almost agree with the ranges of other researchers and the meristic traits are slightly differs from them (Smith, 1965, 1986; Fischer and Bianchi, 1984; Gomes, 1990; Shao, 2005; Ali and McNoon, 2010). The Sea of Oman specimen showed values for dorsal, anal and pectoral fin ray count that fall in intermediary point of that given for the Aden Gulf specimens (Ali and McNoon, 2010) (Table 1).
For the last few decades, the lateral line in this species was neglected as distinguishing character (Smith 1965, 1986; Gomes 1990). However, it is obviously complete with constant pores and easy to count (Figure 2, b, c). This result is in agreement with that of Carvalho-Filo et al. (2009) and Ali and McNoon (2010).
Carvalho-Filo et al. (2009) suggested that the outer border of the caudal fin’s lower lobe shaped like an “S” in T. rubescens is an additional character that should be added to the characters of the genus Taractes since it is present in the other species of this genus, T. asper. This characters is also observed in the specimen of Sea of Oman and the specimens for Aden Gulf (Ali and McNoon, 2010).
Why this species was not recorded previously from the Omani waters on the Arabian Sea coasts of Oman might be that an adequate and comprehensive sampling programis lacking. The present record of T. rubescens confirms the validity of an increasing effort to search for fish species. It is premature to assess whether the present population is represented by only one visitor of T. rubescens simply exploring the new area, or whether this specimen is part of a well-established population.
The present and other recent discoveries (Jawad and Al-Mamry, 2009; Jawad et al., 2010a, b; Jawad, 2011a, b; Jawad et al., 2013 a, b) indicate that deep waters of the Sea of Oman has the potential for a lot of fascinating environmental and biological for oceanic and deep water marine organisms. Further comprehensive studies should investigate the frequency of the occurrence of this species and its biological characteristics to determine whether any sustainable population has been established in this new region.
Our sincere thanks should go to Ronald Fricke of Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde, Germany, Kwang-Tsao Shao of Academia Sinica and Sergey Bogorodsky of Station of Naturalists, Russia for their confirmation of the identity of the species. To William Richard, NOAA Fisheries, Florida, USA for reading the manuscript and having his valuable advice and suggestions. To Abbas Akbari, Australia for his assistant in editing the fish images in Photoshop.
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