Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 November 2016 | 8(13): 9592–9594






An occurrence of the rare Sharptail Mola Masturus lanceolatus (Lienard, 1840) (Tetraodontiformes: Molidae), in the coastal waters of Visakhapatnam, India


Muddula Krishna Naranji 1, Velamala Govinda Rao 2 & Devara Venu 3


1,2,3 Department of Marine Living Resources, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh 530003, India

1 (corresponding author),

2, 3




doi: | ZooBank:


Editor: Biju Kumar, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, India. Date of publication: 26 November 2016 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # 2790 | Received 14 May 2016 | Final received 26 October 2016 | Finally accepted 01 November 2016


Citation: Naranji, M.K., V.G. Rao & D. Venu (2016). An occurrence of the rare Sharptail Mola Masturus lanceolatus (Lienard, 1840) (Tetraodontiformes: Molidae), in the coastal waters of Visakhapatnam, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(13): 9592–9594;


Copyright: © Naranji et al. 2016. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: None.


Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgement: The authors would like to express sincere thanks to the Head, Department of Marine Living Resources, and Andhra University for providing facilities for carrying out the research work.




Fishes of the family Molidae have a long taxonomic antiquity and currently three genera with four species are recognized (Parenti 2003). Sunfish are mostly found in the open ocean in warm temperate waters at all ocean depths of 200–300 m (Nelson 2006) and recorded from the Cape to East London (Smith & Heemstra 1986) they are mainly an epipelagic species (Leis et al. 2015). The morphological characteristics are deep, oval and laterally compressed body.

One specimen of Masturus lanceolatus was collected from trawl catches off Visakhapatnam east coast of India on 12 April 2016. Details of body measurements and meristic data were taken in fresh condition. Morphometric and meristic measurements were determined using standard methods given by (Tyler 1980; Jardas & Knezevic 1983). The species was identified based on the description given by (Huchins 2001; Matsuura 2002; Nair et al. 2013).

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrate

Order: Tetraodontiformes

Family: Molidae



Masturus lanceolatus

(Lienard, 1840) (Images 1–4)

Morhometric and meristic data follows (Table 1)

Description: Body deep and laterally compressed; vertically truncate with thick and leathery tough skin with small cuticles like denticles; mouth moderately small; beak like plates teeth in both jaws were fused into a single row; forming a parrot like beak. Eyes are moderate in size. Gill openings wide, oval in shape; situated slightly above and forward of the origin of pectoral fin base; dorsal and anal fins very high; pectoral fin slightly rounded; clavus projection slightly elongate and upper middle rays longest; head and body with small coarse like granular scales extending up to the base of the dorsal fin, anal, caudal fins; caudal fin gradually tapering and pointed. Gill openings were small and they were in front of pectoral fins; gas bladder absent. Body dark grey to black; dark grey on above, laterally silvery on abdomen and ventrally white in colour; vertical fins slightly blue with black.

Sunfish are mainly represented by the ancient genera Mola or Orthogoriscus in the family, common along the western European waters, and were first described by Rondelet & Salviani in 1554. Lineard (1840) first recorded the species Orthogoriscus lanceolatus, but later in 1885, Gill redescribed and established the genus Masturus. Though this species was initially described from Indian waters, where there have been reports by Kulkarnl (1953), Devaraj et al. (1976), Arumugam et al. (1994), Badrudeen (1995), Senthilkumar (2001), and Das et al. (2012) from Parangipettai coast, M. lanceolatus is considered rare on the Indian coast (Nair et al. 2013). M. lanceolatus is not a targeted catch in coastal waters off Visakhapatnam. There are no previously published records of this species on the Andhra coast and this is the first record.













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