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Zoology Publications from Victoria University of Wellington—Nos. 54 to 57

Present Study

Present Study

One of us (L.J.P.) observed that two female Heptranchias trawled in New Zealand waters during 1969 had the anal fin origin beneath the middle of the dorsal fin base, while a male also trawled in 1969 had the anal fin origin below the posterior end of the anal base (Plate 1). The females agreed, therefore, with one of Whitley's criteria for dakini, while the male fitted perlo as diagnosed and figured from a Cuban specimen in Bigelow and Schroeder (1948, p. 88, fig. 10).

The other of us (J.A.F.G.), who was studying in the Australian Museum at the time, took the opportunity of re-examining the material of Heptranchias in that institution, including the types of H. dakini. We later examined New Zealand Heptranchias material in the Dominion Museum collection.

Although Heptranchias was not recorded from New Zealand until 1953, and has generally been regarded as rare, we found that there were 14 specimens available, including the three 1969 specimens mentioned above. In addition, we had measurements for two other New Zealand specimens examined by one of us (J.A.F.G.) several years ago in the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch.

Information from these 16 New Zealand specimens, plus five Australian specimens examined in the Australian Museum, plus the account in Bigelow and page 3Schroeder (1948) of Atlantic specimens, was utilised in arriving at the present conclusion that only one species is involved. Details of the material examined are as follows.