Dolloidraco velifer Regan, 1914, McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
Attains a length of up to 7.5 in (19.2 cm) (length/depth ratio, 5:1). It has a large, depressed head with a conspicuous barbel on the chin; this barbel is one of the characteristic features of the
. The first dorsal fin is tall and narrow, consisting of only three flexible spines, and is directly above the operculum. The second dorsal fin is disproportionately tall and sail-like. The second dorsal, caudal, pectoral, and pelvic fins have brown and yellow striations. The body color is a light tan, with irregular dark blotches. Scales are absent, except for parts of the two lateral lines on the trunk.
Coastal waters of Antarctica, from the Weddell Sea clockwise to the Ross Sea.
This is a bottom-dwelling fish, found at depths of 48–2,190 ft (15–667 m). It is taken occasionally by scuba divers on the mud or gravel bottoms in McMurdo Sound and Terra Nova Bay.
In the aquarium, the sailfin plunderfish sits quietly on the bottom. The barbel is extended and occasionally twitched, mimicking a small worm. Histological examination shows that the barbel is highly innervated, with many tiny capsules resembling Pacinian corpuscles (a comomn type of pressure-sensitive sense organ amongst the vertebrates). Touching the barbel with forceps elicits a feeding lunge. This
implies that natural feeding may target mobile foragers, such as fish and amphipods.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Very little is known about the diet of the sailfin plunderfish, other than what can be inferred from
al observations in the aquarium. Where they have been examined, gut contents include krill and polychaete worms. Like most of the benthic notothenioids, it is probably an opportunistic feeder.
Nothing is known of the
, as very few specimens have been collected.
Although this is an uncommon species, poorly represented in museum collections, it is not threatened.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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