Eusphyra laticeps (Cantor)

Fernando, Daniel, Bown, Rosalind M. K., Tanna, Akshay, Gobiraj, Ramajeyam, Ralicki, Hannah, Jockusch, Elizabeth L., Ebert, David A., Jensen, Kirsten & Caira, Janine N., 2019, New insights into the identities of the elasmobranch fauna of Sri Lanka, Zootaxa 4585 (2), pp. 201-238 : 226

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.4585.2.1

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Eusphyra laticeps (Cantor)


Eusphyra laticeps (Cantor)

( Figs. 4F View FIGURE 4 , 16 View FIGURE 16 A–C)

One of the most intriguing specimens (SL-3) examined in Sri Lanka was caught in the Gulf of Mannar and landed at Palkanththura in the North Western Province. The distinctive narrow blades of its wing-shaped head seemed to unambiguously confirm its identity as Eusphyra blochii (Cuvier) . However, it was found to differ from our reference specimen of E. blochii (AU-83; JQ519152 View Materials ) from Australia by 46 bp. This substantial difference in NADH2 sequence suggests that the form from Sri Lanka may represent a second species of winghead shark. Although generally considered a synonym of E. blochii , Eusphyra laticeps is a candidate name for the Sri Lankan form. This species was described by Cantor (1837), as Zygaena laticeps Cantor , from the Bay of Bengal and, based on Cantor’s description, clearly exhibits the extremely expanded head that is diagnostic of E. blochii— a feature also seen in the specimen from Sri Lanka. The potential existence of two species with this characteristic head raises an interesting question regarding the identity of E. blochii for which the type locality is unknown ( Gilbert, 1967), but which is currently considered to be distributed throughout the Indo-West Pacific ( Compagno, 1984). Clearly examination of additional specimens and comparison with specimens from other localities in the Indo-West Pacific is in order.

It seems likely that this is the taxon in Sri Lanka referred to as Sphyrna blochii Cuvier by Goonewardene (1971) and De Silva (1977) and as E. blochii by De Silva (1984 –1985, 2006, 2015), De Bruin et al. (1995), Morón et al. (1998), and Joseph 1999.

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