The seven-band grouper, Epinephelus septemfasciatus (Thunberg), is currently recognized as a potential new species for aquaculture in Japan. This study describes normal and abnormal skeletal development of the jaw and vertebrae in cultured larvae and early juveniles of E. septemfasciatus. The ontogenetic stages at which skeletal deformities of jaw and vertebra developed were also described for this species. Osteological observations were made using a clearing and staining method for larvae and soft X-ray photographs for juveniles. A high incidence of skeletal deformities was observed in the jaws and vertebral column during the larval and juvenile stages. Most of the jaw deformities were explained by an abnormal maxilla curvature. Jaw deformities were visually evident from flexion stage after ossification of the deformed elements. Deformities in the vertebral column (mostly lordosis) were observed from the post-larval stage and became more evident as growth proceeded. The lordosis generally occurred on the positions of the 8-11th vertebra. These types of deformities are compared with those of other species, and possible causative factors of the skeletal deformities are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science