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Description of the Pre-settlement Larvae of Sphoeroides spengleri (Pisces: Tetraodontidae)

Robert E. Schmidt1,*, Jeremy J. Wright2, and Erin R. McMullin3

1Adjunct Curator of Fishes, New York State Museum, 145 Jordan Road, Troy, NY 12180. 2Curator of Fishes, New York State Museum, 3140 Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230. 3Ashfield MedComms, 41 Welcome Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230. *Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 22, Issue 3 (2023): N52–N57

We verified pre-settlement Sphoeroides spengleri (Bandtail Puffer) larvae by genetic sequencing and herein describe their morphology and pigmentation. The lead author collected the specimens on a North Carolina beach among stranded Sargassum, which may represent the first record of this species in the Sargassum community along the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Cleared and stained specimens exhibited a declivitous vertebral column that has been reported in few other members of the Tetraodontiformes.

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