Study of some morphometric and meristic characteristics of Alepes vari (Cuvier, 1833) collected from the Arabian coast

Estudo de características morfométricas e merísticas de Alepes vari (Cuvier, 1833) coletados na costa da Arábia

Z. Masood N. Hawa H. U. Hassan S. Mahboob A. M. Chatta S. Mushtaq A. E. Ahmed A. A. Swelum T. Zulfiqar T. Khan F. Al-Misned About the authors

Abstract

The present study examines the correlations between fifteen morphometric and ten meristic characters and total length (TL) of males, females, and combined sexes of Alepes vari (Cuvier, 1833) collected from Karachi fish harbor, West Wharf of Karachi Coast. Statistical analyses of linear regression relationships show mostly strong correlations (r≥0.70; p<0.05) between total length (TL) and most morphometric characters in males, females, and combined sexes, except the height of pectoral-fin (PFH), and pelvic-fin base length (PelFL); whereas, meristic characters were found to be constant and indicate weak or negative type correlations (r≤0.50; p>0.05) with total length (TL). Hence, according to our present results, there is a direct relationship between the total length of fish and all morphometric characters, which were found to be the best indicators of positive allometric pattern growth in fish. Moreover, analysis of the 2-sample t-test revealed (t-test; p>0.05) that no sexual dimorphism was reported in Alepes vari. Thus, our present study could be valuable in systematic classification, sexual dimorphism, and management of this species on the Karachi coast.

Keywords:
morphometric; meristic characters; linear regression relationships; Alepes vari

Resumo

O presente estudo examina as correlações entre 15 caracteres morfométricos e 10 caracteres merísticos e comprimento total (CT) de machos, fêmeas e sexos combinados de Alepes vari (Cuvier, 1833), coletados do porto de Karachi, West Wharf, na costa de Karachi. As análises estatísticas das relações de regressão linear mostraram, principalmente, correlações fortes (r ≥ 0,70; p < 0,05) entre o CT e a maioria dos caracteres morfométricos em machos, fêmeas e sexos combinados, exceto a altura da nadadeira peitoral e o comprimento da base da nadadeira pélvica, enquanto os caracteres merísticos foram constantes, indicando correlações fracas ou negativas (r ≤ 0,50; p > 0,05) com o CT. Portanto, de acordo com nossos resultados, existe uma relação direta entre o CT dos peixes e todos os caracteres morfométricos, que foram considerados os melhores indicadores de crescimento do padrão alométrico positivo em peixes. Além disso, a análise do teste t de duas amostras revelou (teste t; p > 0,05) que nenhum dimorfismo sexual foi relatado em A. vari. Assim, o presente estudo pode ser valioso na classificação sistemática, dimorfismo sexual e manejo dessa espécie na costa de Karachi.

Palavras-chave:
morfométrica; caracteres merísticos; relações de regressão linear; Alepes vari

1. Introduction

Morphometric study plays a vital role in fish development pattern, habitat conditions, overall health, early life, feeding, fish fatness, development stage, gonad middle age, sexual category, size range, physical condition, and common fish form and maintenance (Jisr et al., 2018JISR, N., YOUNES, G., SUKHN, C. and EL-DAKDOUKI, M.H., 2018. Length-weight relationships and relative condition factor of fish inhabiting the marine area of the Eastern Mediterranean city, Tripoli-Lebanon. The Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 299-305. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejar.2018.11.004.
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; Hassan et al., 2020aHASSAN, H.U., ALI, Q.M., AHMAD, N., ATTAULLAH, M., CHATTA, A.M., FAROOQ, U. and ALI, A., 2020a [viewed 6 October 2021]. Study of vertebrate diversity and associated threats in selected habitats of Sindh and Baluchistan, Pakistan. International Journal of Biology and Biotechnology [online], vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 163-175. Available from: http://www.ijbbku.com/assets/custom/j
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, bHASSAN, H.U., ALI, Q.M., RAHMAN, M.A., KAMAL, M., TANJIN, S., FAROOQ, U., MAWA, Z., BADSHAH, N., MAHMOOD, K., HASAN, M.R., GABOOL, K., RIMA, F.A., ISLAM, M.A., RAHMAN, O. and HOSSAIN, M.Y., 2020b. Growth pattern, condition and prey-predator status of 9 fish species from the Arabian Sea (Baluchistan and Sindh), Pakistan. Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Biology & Fisheries, vol. 24, pp. 281-292. http://dx.doi.org/10.21608/ejabf.2020.97439.
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; Islam et al., 2020ISLAM, M.A., MAWA, Z., HOSSAIN, M.Y., RAHMAN, M.A., HASANA, M.R., KHATUN, D., CHOWDHURY, A.A., RAHMAN, O., RAHMAN, M.A., TANJIN, S., HASSAN, U.H. and OHTOMIC, J., 2020 [viewed 6 October 2021]. Morphometric and meristic characteristics of Spotted snakehead Channa punctata (Bloch, 1793) in a wetland ecosystem (NW Bangladesh) using multi-linear dimensions. Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences [online], vol. 49, no. 8, pp. 1442-1446. Available from: http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/55303/1/IJMS%2049%288%29%201442-1446.pdf
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; Khatun et al., 2021KHATUN, D., HOSSAIN, M.Y., HOSSAIN, M.F. and MAWA, Z., 2021. Population parameters of a freshwater clupeid, Corica soborna (Hamilton, 1822) from the Ganges River, Northwestern Bangladesh. Pakistan Journal of Zoology. In press. http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/20191208161233.
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). Morphological variables can be categorized into three main types including, i.e., (1) Positive allometry (+A), when the proportional morphological variable increases in relative to increment in total body length (TL); (2) Negative allometry (-A), when the proportional morphological variable decreases with increase in total body length (TL); (3) Isometry (I) when r-value is equal to 1.0, hence indicating a direct relationship between the morphological parameter and the total body length (TL); therefore, if the length is increased than the other body part also increases in equal rate accordingly (Ambily, 2017AMBILY, V., 2017. Phenology and life history traits of Arius subrostratus (Valenciennes, 1840) from Cochin estuary, India. Changanacherry: Department of Zoology, N. S. S. Hindu College, 331 p. PhD thesis in Zoology.; Kamboj and Kamboj, 2019KAMBOJ, N. and KAMBOJ, V., 2019. Morphometric and meristic study of four freshwater fish species of river Ganga. The Indian Journal of Animal Sciences, vol. 89, no. 4, pp. 120-123.). The study of morphological characters of fishes is reasonably necessary for detecting the taxonomic classification of a genus or species and finding the differences between geographically variant populations. All such information can also be considered an initial step for studying ontogeny or evolutionary relationships of species (Langer et al., 2013LANGER, S., TRIPATHI, N.K. and KHAJURIA, B., 2013. Morphometric and meristic study of Golden Mahseer (Tor Putitora) from Jhajjar Stream (JandK), India. Research Journal of Animal Veterinary and Fishery Sciences, vol. 1, no. 7, pp. 1-4.; Prasad et al., 2020PRASAD, H., DESAI, A.Y. and JOGI, A., 2020. Morphometric and meristic characters of Wallago attu from bhadar reservoir of Gujarat, India. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 941-950.). Most researchers are now using DNA sequencing for distinguishing the evolutionary relationship among the different taxonomic groups. However, all such molecular studies need very high costs (Masood et al., 2015aMASOOD, Z., YASMEEN, R., KATSELIS, G., TARAR, O., LAKHT-E-ZEHRA, HOSSAIN, Y.M. and HAIDER, M.S., 2015a. Comparative survey of morphometric and meristic studies of four mullet species of family Mugilidae from Pakistan in relation to total body length. Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 562-572., bMASOOD, Z., RAFIQUE, N., SADDOZAI, S., ACHAKZAI, W., FAROOQ, R., JAMIL, N., RAZZAQ, W., IQBAL, F., KHAWAR, M., DIN, N. and BANO, N., 2015b. Comparative survey of some morphometric and meristic differentiation among the male and female fishes of the four mullet species of family Mugilidae from Karachi Coast, Pakistan. Journal of Applied Environmental and Biological Sciences, vol. 5, no. 11, pp. 140-150.). Therefore, the analysis of morphological characteristics of fish had been considered as the oldest method used for the study systematic of fish (Heinke, 1898HEINKE, F., 1898. Naturgeschichte des herings I. Die lokalformen und die Wanderungen des Herings in den europäischen Meeren, Abhandlung der Deutschen See fishe reivereins. Berlin: Otto Salle, 217 p. In German.). Moreover, morphological characters of fishes are mostly divided into two main categories, i.e., morphometric and meristic characters (Ambily, 2017AMBILY, V., 2017. Phenology and life history traits of Arius subrostratus (Valenciennes, 1840) from Cochin estuary, India. Changanacherry: Department of Zoology, N. S. S. Hindu College, 331 p. PhD thesis in Zoology.). The word ‘morphometry’ is mainly used for the physical study of animals, while meristic is a word mostly used for counting characters of any organism, which can play a major role in observing the differences between fish populations belongs the same species occurs in different regions of the world (Groeger, 2000GROEGER, J., 2000. Separation of two herring stocks in the transition zone between Baltic and North Sea, based on logistic regression and meristic characters. Archiv für Fischerei- und Meeresforschung, vol. 48, pp. 161-174.; Dars et al., 2012DARS, B.A., NAREJO, N.T. and AWAN, K.P., 2012. Morphometric, meristic characters and their relationship in Channa punctatus (Bloch) from River Indus, Sindh, Pakistan. Sindh University Research Journal, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 91-96.; Hassan et al., 2020bHASSAN, H.U., ALI, Q.M., RAHMAN, M.A., KAMAL, M., TANJIN, S., FAROOQ, U., MAWA, Z., BADSHAH, N., MAHMOOD, K., HASAN, M.R., GABOOL, K., RIMA, F.A., ISLAM, M.A., RAHMAN, O. and HOSSAIN, M.Y., 2020b. Growth pattern, condition and prey-predator status of 9 fish species from the Arabian Sea (Baluchistan and Sindh), Pakistan. Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Biology & Fisheries, vol. 24, pp. 281-292. http://dx.doi.org/10.21608/ejabf.2020.97439.
http://dx.doi.org/10.21608/ejabf.2020.97...
). All such differences might be produced because of variations in their sex, growth rates, habitat conditions, accessibility of foods, predator-prey interactions, and explain the evolutionary adaptations of any fish species (Masood et al., 2015aMASOOD, Z., YASMEEN, R., KATSELIS, G., TARAR, O., LAKHT-E-ZEHRA, HOSSAIN, Y.M. and HAIDER, M.S., 2015a. Comparative survey of morphometric and meristic studies of four mullet species of family Mugilidae from Pakistan in relation to total body length. Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 562-572., bMASOOD, Z., RAFIQUE, N., SADDOZAI, S., ACHAKZAI, W., FAROOQ, R., JAMIL, N., RAZZAQ, W., IQBAL, F., KHAWAR, M., DIN, N. and BANO, N., 2015b. Comparative survey of some morphometric and meristic differentiation among the male and female fishes of the four mullet species of family Mugilidae from Karachi Coast, Pakistan. Journal of Applied Environmental and Biological Sciences, vol. 5, no. 11, pp. 140-150.; Ambily, 2017AMBILY, V., 2017. Phenology and life history traits of Arius subrostratus (Valenciennes, 1840) from Cochin estuary, India. Changanacherry: Department of Zoology, N. S. S. Hindu College, 331 p. PhD thesis in Zoology.). Furthermore, morphometric or meristic characters of fish can also explain the similarity or dissimilarity in various traits of male and female fishes either belonging to the same species. All such sexually dimorphic variations might be produced because of the variations in certain biological factors of fish (Masood et al., 2015bMASOOD, Z., RAFIQUE, N., SADDOZAI, S., ACHAKZAI, W., FAROOQ, R., JAMIL, N., RAZZAQ, W., IQBAL, F., KHAWAR, M., DIN, N. and BANO, N., 2015b. Comparative survey of some morphometric and meristic differentiation among the male and female fishes of the four mullet species of family Mugilidae from Karachi Coast, Pakistan. Journal of Applied Environmental and Biological Sciences, vol. 5, no. 11, pp. 140-150.). Morphometric characters are affected mainly by several environmental factors, especially during the juvenile’s stage or sexual maturity stages of fish during the breeding season (Adeoye et al., 2016ADEOYE, A.A., ROTIMI, E.A. and UDOH, E., 2016. Quantitative Characterization of Farmed African Cat Fish (Clarias gariepinus) in Okitipupa, Ondo State, Nigeria. World Science News, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 329-339.; Akter et al., 2019AKTER, Y., HOSEN, M.H.A., IDRIS MIAH, M., AHMED, Z.F., CHHANDA, M.S. and SHAHRIAR, S.I.M., 2019. Impact of gonad weight on the length-weight relationships of river catfish (Clupisoma garua) in Bangladesh. The Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 375-379. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejar.2019.10.003.
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).

Fishes belonging to Carangidae are commonly known as ‘jacks’, ‘pompanos’, and ‘scad’. Nelson (1984)NELSON, J.S., 1984. Fishes of the world. 2nd ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 523 p. described 32 genera and 140 species of the family Carangidae. Bianchi (1985)BIANCHI, G., 1985. Field guide to the commercial marine and brackish- water species of Pakistan. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 200 p. also studied 19 genera and 42 species of the family Carangidae on the Pakistan coast. As these are tropical marine fishes, therefore have great economic importance, particularly for recreation and aquaculture purposes (Romanova et al., 2018ROMANOVA, E.M., LYUBOMIROVA, V.N., ROMANOV, V.V., MUKHITOVA, M.E. and SHLENKINA, T.M., 2018. Seasonal studies of caviar production and the growth rate of the African catfish (Clarias gariepinus, Burchell, 1822). Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 315-319. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejar.2018.09.005.
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; Hussain et al., 2021HUSSAIN, M., HASSAN, U.H., SIDDIQUE, M.A.M., MAHMOOD, K., ABDEL-AZIZ, V., LAGHARI, M.Y., ABRO, N.A., GABOL, K., NISAR., RIZWAN, S. and HALIMA., 2021. Effect of varying dietary protein levels on growth performance and survival of milkfish Chanos chanos fingerlings reared in brackish water pond ecosystem. Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 329-334. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejar.2021.05.001.
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; Hassan et al., 2021aHASSAN, H.U., ALI, Q.M., AHMAD, N., MASOOD, Z., HOSSAIN, M.Y., GABOL, K., KHAN, W., HUSSAIN, M., ALI, A., ATTAULLAH, M. and KAMAL, M., 2021a. Assessment of growth characteristics, the survival rate and body composition of Asian Sea bass Lates calcarifer (Bloch, 1790) under different feeding rates in closed aquaculture system. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 1324-1330. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2020.11.056. PMid:33613062.
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, bHASSAN, H.U., ALI, Q.M., KHAN, W., MASOOD, Z., ABDEL-AZIZ, M.F.A., SHAH, M.I.A., GABOL, K., WATTOO, J., MAHMOOD CHATTA, A., KAMAL, M., ZULFIQAR, T. and HOSSAIN, M.Y., 2021b. AEffect of feeding frequency as a rearing system on biological performance, survival, body chemical composition and economic efficiency of Asian seabass Lates calcarifer (Bloch, 1790) reared under controlled environmental condition. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, vol. 28, no. 12, pp. 7360-7366. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2021.08.031. PMid:34867038.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2021.08...
). Alepes is an abundantly found genus of this family. Word “Alepes” is derived from the Greek word “alepis” which means “without scales” (Romero, 2002ROMERO, P., 2002. An etymological dictionary of taxonomy. Madrid. Unpublished.). Alepes vari belongs to this genus is a tropically marine species commonly known as “Herring scad” (Hosese et al., 2007HOSESE, D.F., PAXTON, J. and ALLEN, G., 2007. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Australia: Australian Biological Resources Study, vol. 35, 2200 p. (Part 1-3, Fishes).). This species is widely distributed in the Indo-West Pacific Ocean, growing up to 56 cm in total body length, but their average size is 30 cm in TL (Romero, 2002ROMERO, P., 2002. An etymological dictionary of taxonomy. Madrid. Unpublished.). Alepes vari is locally known as, Bangra, Seem, Kakaan, and Pattar along the Pakistan coast (Bianchi (1985)BIANCHI, G., 1985. Field guide to the commercial marine and brackish- water species of Pakistan. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 200 p.. These are large pelagic fishes that swim in-depth from zero to 10 meters near the surface of coastal water and feed on shrimps, copepods, decapods, and small fishes (Froese and Pauly, 2016FROESE, R. and PAULY, D., 2016 [viewed 11 January 2016]. FishBase [online]. Available from: http://www.fishbase.org/search.php
http://www.fishbase.org/search.php...
; Nelson et al., 2016NELSON, J.S., GRANDE, T.C. and WILSON, M.V.H., 2016. Fishes of the World. 5th ed. Wiley, pp. 380-387. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781119174844.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781119174844...
). As no previous study had been done on all selected morphometric and meristic characters of Alepes vari along the Pakistan coast, therefore present study was primarily attempts to examine the growth patterns of various body parts of this species with total body length (TL) and also observe sexual dimorphic morphological variations of this species that have potential value in fisheries management.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Ethical statement

This study was carried out with the strict commendations and approval of the Ethical Committee for Experiments on Fisheries of the University of Karachi and SBK Women University Quetta, Baluchistan, Pakistan

2.2. Study area

Fish samples were gathered from Karachi fish harbour, West Wharf at Karachi coast located at 24° 48 N latitude, and 66° 58 E longitudes on the North-eastern border of the Arabian Sea.

2.3. Fish sampling

A total of 100 species of Alepes vari includes 56 males and 44 females, were collected in this study from January to December 2019. All specimens were transported to the laboratory in polythene bags containing ice blocks to prevent spoilage before analysis.

2.4. Morphometric measurements and meristic counts

Fifteen morphometric and ten meristic characters were analyzed in this study with standard procedures as previously followed by Dwivedi and Menezes (1974)DWIVEDI, S.N. and MENEZES, M.R., 1974. A note on the morphometry and ecology of Brachirus orientalis (Bloch and Schneider) in the estuaries of Goa. Geobios, vol. 1, pp. 80-83., Masood et al. (2015aMASOOD, Z., YASMEEN, R., KATSELIS, G., TARAR, O., LAKHT-E-ZEHRA, HOSSAIN, Y.M. and HAIDER, M.S., 2015a. Comparative survey of morphometric and meristic studies of four mullet species of family Mugilidae from Pakistan in relation to total body length. Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 562-572., bMASOOD, Z., RAFIQUE, N., SADDOZAI, S., ACHAKZAI, W., FAROOQ, R., JAMIL, N., RAZZAQ, W., IQBAL, F., KHAWAR, M., DIN, N. and BANO, N., 2015b. Comparative survey of some morphometric and meristic differentiation among the male and female fishes of the four mullet species of family Mugilidae from Karachi Coast, Pakistan. Journal of Applied Environmental and Biological Sciences, vol. 5, no. 11, pp. 140-150.) and Prasad et al. (2020)PRASAD, H., DESAI, A.Y. and JOGI, A., 2020. Morphometric and meristic characters of Wallago attu from bhadar reservoir of Gujarat, India. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 941-950.. All these morphological parameters were represented along with their acronyms in Table 1 and Figure 1, respectively. The values of mean, range, standard deviation, and standard error of each morphometric or meristic character of males, females, and combined sexes were presented in Table 2a, respectively.

Table 1
Quantitative morphometric and meristic characters used for differentiation analysis of Alepes vari collected from Karachi coast.
Figure 1
Measurements of morphometric characters of fish.
Table 2a
Mean, standard deviation, standard error of mean, minimum and maximum value of morphometric and meristic traits of male, female, combined sexes of Alepes vari at Karachi coast.

Linear regression relationship equation was applied to determine the relationships between total body length versus morphometric or meristic parameter of this study as follow;

Y = bX ± a

whereas, “Y” represents the morphological parameter and “X” represent the total body length of fish measured in millimeters, whereas, 'a' was a constant value and 'b' was the regression coefficient, The range, mean, standard deviations, correlation coefficient 'r' and t-test at 5% significant (p<0.05) were also calculated as previously followed by Ambily (2017)AMBILY, V., 2017. Phenology and life history traits of Arius subrostratus (Valenciennes, 1840) from Cochin estuary, India. Changanacherry: Department of Zoology, N. S. S. Hindu College, 331 p. PhD thesis in Zoology.. Moreover, a 2-sample t-test at 95% confidence interval (CI) when p<0.05 was calculated by using statistical Minitab software (version 17.1) for observing the sexually dimorphic morphological variations between males and females of Alepes vari with method followed by Masood et al. (2015b)MASOOD, Z., RAFIQUE, N., SADDOZAI, S., ACHAKZAI, W., FAROOQ, R., JAMIL, N., RAZZAQ, W., IQBAL, F., KHAWAR, M., DIN, N. and BANO, N., 2015b. Comparative survey of some morphometric and meristic differentiation among the male and female fishes of the four mullet species of family Mugilidae from Karachi Coast, Pakistan. Journal of Applied Environmental and Biological Sciences, vol. 5, no. 11, pp. 140-150..

3. Results and Discussion

3.1. Morphometric and meristic characteristics of Alepes vari (Cuvier, 1833)

In this study, the external morphology of the fish body was observed as strongly compressed with ventral and dorsal profiles are in convex shapes that unite anteriorly to form a pointed snout. The body contains two dorsal fins, one pectoral and pelvic fin, an anal fin, and a forked caudal fin. The spiny dorsal fin includes 7-9 spines, the second dorsal fin includes 21-24 soft-rays; the pectoral fin contains 17-24 soft-rays; the anal fin has 1-3 spines and 17-20 soft-rays; the pelvic fin includes 2-5 soft-rays, the number of gill rakers ranged from 37-47 and the number of scutes was 48-62 on lateral line, respectively. Although morphometric measurements of the current study disclose that total body length (TL) were found in a range from 135 to 352 mm, forked length (FL) ranged from 118 to 296 mm, standard length (SL) was between 104 to 250mm, head length (HL) varies from 38 to 69 mm, body depth (D) ranged from 54 to 107 mm, first dorsal-fin height (D1H) ranged from 15 to 30 mm, first dorsal-fin length (D1L) varies from 14 to 40 mm, pectoral-fin height (PFH) ranged from 9.0 to 55mm, pectoral-fin length (PFL) varies from 26 to 92 mm, pelvic-fin height (PelFH) ranging from 12 to 35 mm, pelvic-fin length (PelFL) was between 4.0 to 12mm, anal-fin height varies from 17 to 38, anal-fin length ranged from 56 to 110mm, pre-dorsal length (PDL) ranging from 51 to 99 mm, and eye diameter was ranged from 7.0 to 15.0mm, as shown in Table 2a respectively. Above mention results were found to be similar as previously described by Al-Faisal et al. (2015)AL-FAISAL, A., MOHAMED, A.R. and AHMED, T., 2015. Morphological and molecular systematic of Carangids (Genus: Alepes), with new record of Alepes vari from the Iraqi Marine Waters, Northwest Arabian Gulf. Asian Journal of Applied Sciences, vol. 3, pp. 559-566. and Roul et al. (2017)ROUL, S.K., RAGESH, N., RETHEESH, T., PRAKASAN, D. and AKHIL, A.R., 2017. Record sized Alepes vari and Nematalosa nasus. Cochin: ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, pp. 27-28. Mar. Fish. Infor. Serv., T & E Ser., no. 231., which might be because of their exact geographical location, ecological conditions, or human activities like fishing in their particular habitats, as stated by Fakunmoju et al. (2014)FAKUNMOJU, F.A., AKINTOLA, S.L. and IJIMAKINDE, B., 2014. Comparative analysis of the morphometric and meristic Character of Lutjanidae from Lekki and Badagry Lagoons in Lagos State Nigeria. IOSR Journal of Agriculture and Veterinary Science, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 81-88. http://dx.doi.org/10.9790/2380-07158188.
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.

3.2. Sexual dimorphism

Both morphometric and meristic characteristics of males and females of this species showed consistency with each other, as presented in Table 2b, respectively. Therefore, this study revealed that there is only little variations (t-test; p>0.05) were found to occur between all morphometric and meristic characteristics of male and female fishes of Alepes vari, except the pectoral-fin base length (PFL) that shows a significant variation (t-test; p<0.05). Hence, no sexual dimorphism was reported in this species. Carpenter and Niem (2001)CARPENTER, K.E. and NIEM, V.H., 2001. FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Rome: FAO, vol. 5, 2684 p. (Bony fishes part 3 (Menidae to Pomacentridae). stated that Alepes vari can be identified from the other genus Alepes based on two significant meristic traits, i.e., number of scutes on its lateral line and the number of gill rakers on its first-gill arch. Moreover, sexual dimorphism can be characterized by the amount of dark pigment present in the dorsal fins, anal fins, and pelvic fins compared to females of this species. Tarique et al. (1977)TARIQUE, H., KHAN, A.A. and CHATTERJEE, A., 1977. Sexual diamorphism in the morphometric characters of a carp, Labeo calbasu (Ham.). Journal of Zoological Research, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 90-92. and Begum et al. (2008)BEGUM, M., AL-MAMUN, A., ISLAM, M.L. and ALAM, M.J., 2008. Morphometric characters and their relationship in estuarine Catfish. Journal of Bangladesh Agriculture University, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 349-353. http://dx.doi.org/10.3329/jbau.v6i2.4833.
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had also observed the sexual dimorphism based on some morphometric traits for carp fish species Labeo calbasu, and catfish species Mystus gulio. Hence, the analysis of meristic and morphometric variations between male and female fishes of a particular species could also be considered a valuable tool in determining sexual dimorphism (Adarsh and James, 2016ADARSH, S. and JAMES, R.A., 2016. Morphometric role on length-length and length weight relationship of Sulphur goatfish (Upeneus sulphureus, Cuvier, 1829) From Mandapam Coast, Southern India. International Journal of Advanced Research, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 825-839.).

Table 2b
Sample t-test at 95% confidence interval (CI) for morphological traits of male, female, combined sexes of Alepes vari at Karachi coast.

3.3. Linear regression relationships between total body length (TL) and morphological characters of Alepes vari

As fish morphometric characters usually refer to the measuring of total body length of fish with various other body parts of its anatomy; therefore, accordance to Marr (1955)MARR, A.C., 1955. The use of morphometric data in systematic and relative growth studies in fishes. Copiea, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 23-41. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1439448.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1439448...
, Hoque (1984)HOQUE, B., 1984. Morphometric characters and their relationship in Bombay duck, Harpadon nehereus (Hamilton). Bangladesh Journal of Zoolology, vol. 2, pp. 105-108., and Chaklader et al. (2006)CHAKLADER, M.R., SIDDIK, M.A.B., HANIF, M.A., NAHAR, A., MAHMUD, S. and PIRIA, M., 2006. Morphometric and meristic variation of endangered pabda catfish, Ompok pabda (Hamilton- Buchanan, 1822) from southern coastal waters of Bangladesh. Pakistan Journal of Zoology, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 681-687., a study of linear regression relationships between total body length of fish and several morphometric characters were found to be the best indicator for detecting the growth pattern of fish. The overall findings of linear regression relationships between total body length (TL) and all morphometric characters of males, females, and combined sexes of Alepes vari reveals strong and significant correlations (r>0.70; p<0.05) except the pectoral-fin height (PFH) and pelvic-fin length (PelFL) that accessible a very weak or moderate type of correlation, as obtainable in Tables 3a, 4a and 5a respectively. Hence, the results of morphometric characters show a positive allometric growth pattern (A+), which reveals the direct relationship between total body length and growth of various body parts of this species, which was following Hoque (1984)HOQUE, B., 1984. Morphometric characters and their relationship in Bombay duck, Harpadon nehereus (Hamilton). Bangladesh Journal of Zoolology, vol. 2, pp. 105-108., Begum et al. (2008)BEGUM, M., AL-MAMUN, A., ISLAM, M.L. and ALAM, M.J., 2008. Morphometric characters and their relationship in estuarine Catfish. Journal of Bangladesh Agriculture University, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 349-353. http://dx.doi.org/10.3329/jbau.v6i2.4833.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3329/jbau.v6i2.4833...
and Saroniya et al. (2013)SARONIYA, K., SAKSENA, D.N. and NAGPURE, N.S., 2013. The morphometric and meristic analysis of some Puntius species from central India. Biolife, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 144-154.. However, some workers like Marr (1955)MARR, A.C., 1955. The use of morphometric data in systematic and relative growth studies in fishes. Copiea, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 23-41. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1439448.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1439448...
and Tandon (1962)TANDON, K.K., 1962. Biology and fishery of Chooparai selaroides leptolepsis (C and V). Indian Journal of Fisheries, vol. 8, pp. 127-144. have also observed no significant relationships (p>0.05) between various morphometric characters with the total body length of fish. This might be because the ratio of increase in different morphometric characters with a complete body length from larval to adult stages may not always show similar consistency in their growth rates. Moreover, there are no significant variations were observed in linear relationships between total body length and all selected morphometric characters for males, females of Alepes vari of this study, which was in harmony with Begum et al. (2008)BEGUM, M., AL-MAMUN, A., ISLAM, M.L. and ALAM, M.J., 2008. Morphometric characters and their relationship in estuarine Catfish. Journal of Bangladesh Agriculture University, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 349-353. http://dx.doi.org/10.3329/jbau.v6i2.4833.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3329/jbau.v6i2.4833...
and Saroniya et al. (2013)SARONIYA, K., SAKSENA, D.N. and NAGPURE, N.S., 2013. The morphometric and meristic analysis of some Puntius species from central India. Biolife, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 144-154., who also found homogeneity in growth rates of various morphometric traits of males and females of Mystus gulio, Puntius chola and Puntius sophore with increment in total body length. Whereas, Tiwari and Qureshi (2003)TIWARI, V.K. and QURESHI, T.A., 2003. Morphometric characters of the catfish, Rita pavimentata (Gunther) from the river Narmada. Journal of the Inland Fisheries Society of India, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 68-72. had also observed the heterogeneity in growth rates of various morphometric traits of males and females of Rita pavimentata with total length and found slightly faster growth rates in some morphometric characters of females than males, which might be due to variations in their physiological activities. Sometimes, variations in morphometric characters can also be considered an indicator of water pollution (Singla, 2017SINGLA, R.B., 2017. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of scale of freshwater exotic fish, Ctenopharyngodon idella exposed to organochlorine pesticide, endosulfan. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 5-9.). Therefore, morphometric measurement can be considered a vital tool to discriminate any fish species found in various habitats than meristic counts, as Yusuf and Ali (2009)YUSUF, B. and ALI, O.B., 2009. Morphological Variation among Atlantic Horse Mackerel, Trachurus trachurus Populations from Turkish Coastal Waters. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 511-517. observed.

Meristic characters showed heterogeneity in the current study, exhibiting both weakly positive and negative types of correlations (when r 0.50, p>0.05) with total body length (TL) for males, females, and combined sexes of Alepes vari, as shown in Tables 3b, 4b, and 5b, respectively, which was reliable with Brraich and Akhter (2015)BRRAICH, O.S. and AKHTER, S., 2015. Morphometric characters and meristic Counts of a Fish, Crossocheilus latius latius (Hamilton-Buchanan) from Ranjit Sagar Wetland, India. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies, vol. 2, no. 5, pp. 260-265., indicating that there are no direct relationships between total body length and various meristic characters. Furthermore, the study of relationships between various meristic characters and total body length in males and females of Alepes vari showed homogeneity, which might be because meristic characters remain fixed during the whole life of both sexes, as reported by Masood et al. (2015a)MASOOD, Z., YASMEEN, R., KATSELIS, G., TARAR, O., LAKHT-E-ZEHRA, HOSSAIN, Y.M. and HAIDER, M.S., 2015a. Comparative survey of morphometric and meristic studies of four mullet species of family Mugilidae from Pakistan in relation to total body length. Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 562-572. and Ambily (2017)AMBILY, V., 2017. Phenology and life history traits of Arius subrostratus (Valenciennes, 1840) from Cochin estuary, India. Changanacherry: Department of Zoology, N. S. S. Hindu College, 331 p. PhD thesis in Zoology.. However, great variations in such relationships have also been reported in some fish species i.e., Nematalosa nasus, Pterophyllum scalare, and Crossocheilus latius latius by Al-Hassan (1987)AL-HASSAN, L.A.J., 1987. Variations in meristic characters of Nematalosa nasus from Iraqi and Kuwaiti waters. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 422-425. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02904109.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02904109...
, Koshy et al. (2008)KOSHY, B.E., OYYAN, S. and MUNIANDY, S., 2008. Variation in meristic characters of four strains of Malaysian freshwater angelfish Pterophyllum scalare (L.). Malaysian Journal of Science, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 69-73., and Brraich and Akhter (2015)BRRAICH, O.S. and AKHTER, S., 2015. Morphometric characters and meristic Counts of a Fish, Crossocheilus latius latius (Hamilton-Buchanan) from Ranjit Sagar Wetland, India. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies, vol. 2, no. 5, pp. 260-265., which might because of variations in geographical locations and considerable impact of abiotic factors (depth, turbidity, and temperature of water) or biotic factors (population size, fish growth, genetic features) of habitat on meristic characteristics of a fish species occurs in different regions of the world, as previously reported by Hasan et al. (2021)HASAN, M.R., MAMUN, A.A. and HOSSAIN, M.Y., 2021. Biometric indices of eleven mangrove fish species from southwest Bangladesh. The Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 207-213. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejar.2020.11.002.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejar.2020.11...
, Ezeafulukwe et al. (2015)EZEAFULUKWE, C., NJOKU, D., EKELEDO, C. and ADAKA, G., 2015. Morphometric characteristics of selected chichlid fishes from two aquatic environments in Imo State, Nigeria. International Journal of Veterinary Science, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 131-135., Ramasamy and Rajangam (2016)RAMASAMY, M. and RAJANGAM, S., 2016. Threatened species of IUCN red list: labeo calbasu (Hamilton, 1822) with requirement of imperative conservational management from Lower Anicut, Tamil Nadu, India. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 294-303. and Prasad et al. (2020)PRASAD, H., DESAI, A.Y. and JOGI, A., 2020. Morphometric and meristic characters of Wallago attu from bhadar reservoir of Gujarat, India. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 941-950..

Table 3a
Linear regression relationship between total body length (TL) and different morphometric characters for male Alepes vari. Total length and all other variables are taken in mm. (N=56).
Table 3b
Linear regression relationship between total body length (TL) and different meristic characters for male Alepes vari. Total length and all other variables are taken in mm. (N=56).
Table 4a
Linear regression association between total body length (TL) and various morphometric characters for female Alepes vari. Total length and all other measurements are in mm. (N=44).
Table 4b
Linear regression association between total body length (TL) and various meristic characters for female Alepes vari. Total length and all other measurements are in mm. (N=44).
Table 5a
Linear regression relationship between total body length (TL) and various morphometric characters for combined sexes of Alepes vari. Total length and all other measurements are in mm. (N=100).
Table 5b
Linear regression relationship between total body length (TL) and various meristic characters for combined sexes of Alepes vari. Total length and all other measurements are in mm. (N=100).

4. Conclusions

Thus, our present study of different morphometric measurements and meristic counts can also be used to differentiate the external changes, ontogenic associations, and true recognition of an organism. Moreover, this technique has now widely been used to protect endangered fish species and explain the effect of various environmental factors on growth in fish.

Acknowledgements

The authors express their sincere appreciation to the King Khalid University, Abha KSA grant number (R.G.P.2/61/42) and research supporting project No. RSP-2021-93 of the King Saud University,

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    21 Feb 2022
  • Date of issue
    2024

History

  • Received
    06 Oct 2021
  • Accepted
    03 Dec 2021
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