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Zoology Publications from Victoria University of Wellington—Nos. 63 and 64



Diplocrepis puniceus (Richardson, 1846) and Trachelochismus pinnulatus (Forster, 1801) are endemic New Zealand species of the family Gobiesocidae. They are common throughout the mid-tide and low tide levels of the rocky shore around New Zealand as is also the clingfish Trachelochismus melobesia (Phillipps, 1927).

Diplocrepis puniceus is a relatively large clingfish with conspicuous coloration, attaining 100mm standard length. The patterns and intensity of its body colour vary considerably in both male and female. In general, however, the dorsal surface is mottled with light and dark shades of green, contrasting with a pale yellow ventral surface. During the breeding season the males have an overall lilac tinge which is possibly a response to the deep purple colour of the egg clusters which they attend.

In T. pinnulatus the dorsal surface is light or dark green with longitudinal brown bands or brown spots and the ventral surface is pale yellow. Trachelochismus melobesia (max. size 30mm s.l.) is similar to, but smaller than T. pinnulatus (max. size 72mm s.l.) and has a reddish-purple patch on the dorsal surface, which is lacking in T. pinnulatus. Diplocrepis puniceus is distinguished from T. pinnulatus and T. melobesia by its large horse-shoe shaped head and distinctive colour. The three are further distinguished by the following fin-ray counts (Briggs, 1955) :

D. puniceus D11 (10-11), A5 (4-5), PI 23 (23-24), C10.

T. pinnulatus D8 (7-9), A6 (5-7), PI 25 (24-26), C12 (11-12).

T. melobesia D10 (9-11), A8 (7-8), PI 23 (22-24), C12.

The present study describes the embryonic development and early larval growth of D. puniceus and T. pinnulatus. Comparable features of T. melobesia are described elsewhere (Ruck, 1971). The life history and general biology of T. pinnulatus were studied by Coakley (1964), and Graham (1939, 1953) has briefly described the egg and prolarval stages of D. puniceus.

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