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Tassel-fishes, Threadfin Salmons, Threadfins

Compiler and date details

18 January 2012 - Douglass F. Hoese, John R. Paxton, Dianne J. Bray & Matthew M. Lockett

December 2006 - Douglass F. Hoese, John R. Paxton & Dianne J. Bray


Worldwide, eight genera and 41 species are currently recognised in the Polynemidae (Feltes 1993; Motomura 2004). Three genera and seven species are known from Australia.

Threadfins or tassel-fishes occur worldwide in tropical and subtropical, coastal marine and estuarine environments. A few species are also known to be restricted to fresh water. The family is distinguished by having the lower 3-7 pectoral rays free from other rays, developed into thread-like projections. Polynemids are commercially important in Australia (Kailola et al. 1993). The maximum size reached is 1.8 m.

Previously, the family was grouped with the mugilids and sphyraenids (Nelson 1984), but it is now considered to be more closely related to sciaenids (Johnson 1993; Nelson 1994, 2006). The names used here are tentative, as two of the genera (Polydactylus and Polynemus) have not been reviewed recently. However, Feltes (1993) in his key to genera indicated that Polynemus only occurs from eastern India to Borneo. Feltes (1991) revised the genus Filimanus. Leptomelanosoma indicum (Shaw, 1804) is not included here, although it has been recorded from Australia (McCulloch 1929; Whitley 1964). Munro (1961), among others, questioned whether L. indicum actually occurs here. Feltes (in litt., 13/7/83) has recorded this species, as well as Polydactylus microstoma, P. sexfilis and P. sextarius, from Indonesia and/or New Guinea, but all Australian specimens so-labelled were misidentifications. In addition, Feltes (1991) recorded F. heptadactylus from further north, but found no Australian specimens to confirm the previous records of Munro (1961: 108) or Whitley (1964: 40) that presumably were based also on misidentifications. Many of the Australian species are treated in Feltes (2001) and all species are dealt with by Motomura (2004).

Ross Feltes and H. Motomura kindly supplied information on the family.


General References

Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) 2006. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp. [1251]

Feltes, R.M. 1991. Revision of the polynemid fish genus Filimanus, with the description of two new species. Copeia 1991(2): 302-322 figs 1-12

Feltes, R.M. 1993. Parapolynemus, a new genus for the polynemid fish previously known as Polynemus verekeri. Copeia 1993(1): 207-215 figs 1-8

Feltes, R.M. 2001. Polynemidae. pp. 3090-3116 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

Johnson, G.D. 1993. Percomorph phylogeny: progress and problems. Bulletin of Marine Science 52(1): 3-28

Kailola, P.J., Williams, M.J., Stewart, P.C., Reichelt, R.E., McNee, A. & Grieve, C. 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Canberra : Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 422 pp.

McCulloch, A.R. 1929. A check-list of the fishes recorded from Australia. Part I. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 5: 1–144

Motomura, H. 2004. Threadfins of the World (Family Polynemidae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of polynemid species known to date. FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes, No. 3. Rome : FAO 117 pp., 152 figs, 6 pls.

Munro, I.S.R. 1961. Handbook of Australian fishes. Nos 1–42. Australian Fisheries Newsletter 15–17, 19, 20: 1-172 [published as separates 1956–1961]

Nelson, J.S. 1984. Fishes of the World. New York : John Wiley & Sons 523 pp. figs.

Nelson, J.S. 1994. Fishes of the World. New York : John Wiley & Sons 600 pp.

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.

Shaw, G. 1804. General Zoology or Systematic Natural History. Fishes. London : G. Kearsley Vol. 5 1-463 pls 1(or 93)-182.

Whitley, G.P. 1964. A survey of Australian Ichthyology. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 89(1): 11-127


Common Name References

Pollard, J. (ed.) 1980. G.P. Whitley's Handbook of Australian Fishes. North Sydney : Jack Pollard Publishing Pty Ltd 629 pp. [383] (Threadfins)


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
26-Nov-2012 26-Nov-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)