Genus Alabes


Summary:

Endemic Australian genus with 12 species found in coastal waters of mainland Australia and Norfolk Island.

Small to very small, slender eel-like fishes, with bodies tapering to a small caudal fin united to dorsal and anal fins; caudal fin with 4-12 rays, rays absent from dorsal and anal fins; pectoral fin absent, pelvic fins rudimentary or absent. 

Key to species of Alabes (modified from Hutchins 2006); PNP = posterior nasal pore; POP = postocular pore

1a. Pelvic fin rudiment on ventral surface immediately behind gill opening ………..........................................................….2

1b. Pelvic fin rudiment absent ..........................................................................................................................................................6

2a. Pelvic fin rudiment moderate in size, fin rays present; POP 1 …………………………………..…......................……….……...…..3

2b. Pelvic fin rudiment small, pelvic fin rays absent or not visible; POP 2, usually widely separated .........................5


3a. Width of pelvic fin rudiment equal to or wider than length of gill slit ……………………….............................……………..….4

3b. Width of pelvic fin rudiment less than length of gill slit (Tas) ............................................................................A. bathys


4a. Body relatively robust (depth 9.3–11.6 in SL); dorsal fin fold relatively high, commencing anteriorly to vertical through urogenital opening (snout to origin of dorsal fin fold 2.0–3.5 in SL); adults often with blackish circular blotches on midside (NSW, Vic, Tas, SA) ……….................................................................…..A. dorsalis

4b. Body relatively slender (depth 12.5–14.9 in SL); dorsal-fin fold relatively low, originating well behind vertical through urogenital opening (snout to origin of dorsal fin fold 1.3–2.4 in SL); no dark circular blotches on side of large adult (WA) ..................................................................................................................................A. elongata


5a. Head relatively large, length 6.7–7.6 in SL; PNP absent (WA) ………………………………………..A. brevis

5b. Head relatively small, length 9.7–11.4 in SL; PNP present (WA) …………………………………A. gibbosa


6a. Gill slit small, length 5.4–22.9 in HL; POP 1 or 2; nasal pores present or absent ………………………..7

6b. Gill slit moderately large, length 3.1–4.3 in HL; no POP or nasal pores (Tas, WA) ............A. obtusirostris


7a. Dorsal-fin fold origin above vertical through urogenital opening or behind; anal-fin fold prominent, extending about half way from caudal fin to urogenital opening; interorbital relatively wide, width 5.4–10.8 in HL; body translucent posteriorly in life, sides without alternating black and white bars ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….8

7b. Dorsal-fin fold origin just behind head; anal-fin fold absent or restricted to region just before caudal fin; interorbital very narrow, width 8.8–22.6 (usually 15 or more) in HL; body orange, not translucent posteriorly, sides with alternating wide black and narrow white bars (NSW, Vic, Tas) .......A. scotti


8a. Postocular pores 1; PNP absent; caudal-fin rays less than 7 or absent ………………………………………9

8b. Postocular pores 2; PNP usually present; caudal-fin rays 7–8 (NSW, Vic, Tas, SA, WA)….A. hoesei


9a. Origin of dorsal-fin fold over vertical through urogenital opening ……………………………………………10

9b. Origin of dorsal-fi n fold well posterior to vertical through urogenital opening (Norfolk I.) ……..A. springeri


10a. Lacrymal pores present; male with regular tiger-like bars anteriorly on side of body, not merging ventrally with longitudinal series of 4 blackish to dark-blue blotches on side of abdomen, area of blotches extending about half way between gill slit and urogenital opening (NSW, Qld) ....A. parvula

10b. Lacrymal pores absent; male with irregular arrangement of tiger-like bars anteriorly on side of body, merging ventrally with 2–3 blackish blotches which extend about one-third distance between gill slit and urogenital opening (WA) …………………………………………………………………..A. occidentalis

Author: Bray, D.J. 2019

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Alabes in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Dec 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/genus/32

References


Hutchins, B. 2006. Description of two new species of shore-eels (Gobiesocidae: Cheilobranchinae: Alabes) from south-eastern Australia and Norfolk Island. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 63(1): 25-28

Hutchins, B. & S. Morrison. 2004. Five new fish species of the genus Alabes (Gobiesocidae: Cheilobranchinae). Records of the Australian Museum 56(2):  147–158.

Hutchins, J.B. 2008. Family Gobiesocidae (pp. 722-742). In: Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland, 928 pp.

Springer, V.G., & T.H. Fraser, 1976. Synonymy of the fish families Cheilobranchidae (= Alabetidae) and Gobiesocidae, with descriptions of two new species of Alabes. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 234: 1–23.