Taxonomic revision of the pipefishes Pseudophallus mindii (Meek & Hildebrand 1923) and P. brasiliensis (Dawson 1974), with an osteological study of P. mindii in the osteological context (Teleostei: Gasterosteiformes: Syngnathidae)
The Family Syngnathidae includes seahorses and pipefishes, diagnosed by the presence of a breeding pouch in the males, bony rings covering the body, and fused edentule jaws. Most species are marine fishes, but it includes some exclusively freshwater forms. There are 11 known species of pipefishes along the Brazilian coast, highlightening Pseudophallus mindii (Meek and Hildebrand 1923) which occurs in freshwater bodies from Honduras in Central America to Santa Catarina. It has been proposed in the literature a clinal variation along the Brazilian coast in which the Southern populations of P. mindii presented decreased values in some meristic data. Besides that, in 1974 a new species from Tocantins River (P. brasiliensis) was described, which was considered a synonym of P. mindii by some authors in subsequent years it. In this context, a preliminary morphological study involving specimens of P. mindii from coastal stream of Brazil showed that there is in fact a morphological cline, but that the taxonomic question involving P. mindii and P. brasiliensis can only be properly addressed after a detailed taxonomical review including the examining of material from the type locality of P. mindii and the Caribbean and South American coast. Besides that, recently collected specimens were adequately preserved permitting an osteological study of P. mindii, including males with eggs in different stages of development in their breeding pouch. The present study will review P. mindii and P. brasiliensis based on meristic and morphometric data, and will search for additional characters in the external morphology and osteology including the ontogenetic context, in addition to updating the geographical range of the valid species.
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