Genus Antennarius Cuvier, Reg. Anim. Ist. ed., ii, 1817, p. 310 (chironectes).
Antennarius striatus, Striped Angler. (Fig. 10).
Lophius striatus Shaw, Nat. Miscel. 5, 1794, pl. 175.
Antennarius pinniceps Cuv et Val. Guenther. Brit. Mus. Cat. Fish. 3, 1861, p. 190.
Antennarius striatus Guenther. Fisch Sudsee 5, 1876, p. 162, pl. 99.
Antennarius striatus McCulloch, Check List, Fish and Fish-like Anim., N.S.Wales, pt. 3, 1922, p. 123, pl. 12, Fig. 357a.
D.iii/XII., A.vii., P.X., V.v., C.ix.
Height 2.14, head, 3.39 in the length to the hypural joint. Eye, 7 in the head or 3 in the snout. Head, with swollen cheeks and a deep depression below the eye. A deep pit on the occiput, perfectly smooth inside, receives the distal ends of the two anterior dorsal spines. Tip of snout produced into a bulb-like depressable process, first and second dorsal spines being attached to this.
Mouth subvertical, maxillary the same. Lower jaw slightly longer than upper. Cardiform teeth in both jaws in a single series. Cardiform teeth also present on palatine bones and tongue. Nostrils small, subequal, lateral, placed close together, anterior almost on margin of premaxillary, both surrounded with a moderately high transparent rim. Gill-opening reduced to a small foramen situated behind pectoral, rather nearer angle than end of fin. Gills 4, no cleft behind the fourth. One half only of anterior arcus branchialis provided with lamellae, and no gill-rakers present on this limb. Pseudobranchiae none.
Body robust anteriorly, compressed towards caudal, covered with rough skin containing numerous minute trifid spines which form into clusters on maxillary, front of lower jaw, above eye, and extending over body in the form of a lateral line ending above the centre of anal fin. A few longer cutaneous branched fillaments depend from margin and centre of lower jaw. Stomach wide; pyloric appendages none; air-bladder present.
Anterior dorsal spine slightly longer than the second, very delicate, terminating in three lanceolate flaps with minute doubly crenulated margins. Second and third spines of dorsal furnished with clusters of minute spinules at tips. All spines in fourth dorsal are subequal, reaching base of caudal when laid back.
Anal origin below sixth spine of the fourth dorsal, very similar to the latter in form and structure.
Pectoral long, arm-like, owing to the protraction of carpal bones. Ventral jugular short, extremity being similar to pectoral.
Colour: Light greyish-brown irregularly streaked with dark-brown bars of various shapes and sizes. Numerous streaks of dark-brown radiate over sides of head from eye. A series of oblong and rounded spots on cheeks, ventrals, and pectorals, also on undersurface.
Identity and variation: This fish agrees very well with the description of A. pinniceps quoted at the head of this paper, and which McCulloch regards as merely a colour-variation of A. striatus. The genus, according to Guenther, is subject to very great variation, scarcely two specimens of a kind being found exactly alike, consequently there is not another genus of fishes which offers so much difficulty in the determination of the various species.
Described and figured from a specimen 83 mm. long from tip of snout to hypural joint.
Locality and distribution: The specimen here described, when first seen was hiding in a bunch of seaweed, at Opua, Bay of Islands, Auckland Provincial District. It was later captured in a net by Mr. G. Cross to whom I am indebted for sending the fish to the museum, this being the first time the genus has been recognized from our waters. It is also recorded from New South Wales, the Ile de France, and the Indian Ocean. Guenther states that most of the species of this genus appear to be inhabitants of tropical seas, living on floating seaweed, and enabled by filling the spacious stomach with air to sustain themselves on the surface of the water. They are therefore found in the open sea, as well as near the coasts, and being poor swimmers are driven with the currents into which they happen to drift. Thus it is a natural consequence that at least some of the species should have a very wide geographical range.