Stellifer, Oken, 1817

Chao, Ning Labbish, Carvalho-Filho, Alfredo & Santos, Jonas De Andrade, 2021, Five new species of Western Atlantic stardrums, Stellifer (Perciformes: Sciaenidae) with a key to Atlantic Stellifer species, Zootaxa 4991 (3), pp. 434-466 : 463

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Conclusions on Stellifer and sciaenid taxonomy

The subfamily Stelliferinae is unique within Sciaenidae by having a two-chambered gas bladder and an enlarged pair of lapillus, about the same size as the sagitta. Both characters are also present in the Indo-West Pacific Johnius (tribe Johniini ) which has a slightly enlarged lapillus but less than one-third the size of the sagitta, they also have an expanded anterior end of the gas bladder ( Chao 1986; Chao et al. 2019). Thus, because they are distant in sciaenid phylogeny, their share a last common ancestor dating from the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene expansions ( Lo et al. 2015), these characters are probably convergent.

In this study, we found that Stellife r species (e.g. S. collettei ) can show significant geographic variation. Recent studies of Southwestern Atlantic sciaenids, such as Bairdiella ( Marceniuk et al. 2019) , Macrodon ( Carvalho-Filho et al. 2010) , Menticirrhus ( Marceniuk et al. 2020) , and Isopisthus ( Guimarães-Costa et al. 2020) have shown that cryptic species are not uncommon. These studies demonstrated that the hidden diversity is often found in species caught as fisheries by-catch, reinforcing the need for detailed studies on taxonomy and zoogeography that can lead to better conservation management. We expect that Stellifer and widely distributed sciaenids (e.g. Cynoscion and Micropogonias ) might have similar patterns, when samples become available for further molecular and morphological study.