Re: NANFA-L-- Not the worlds smallest fish.

Christopher Scharpf (
Thu, 26 Jan 2006 21:23:58 -0400

> Schindleria brevipinguis {Saltwater Goby} 6.5 mm! (Watson and Walker 2004)

Kottelat et al. question the veracity of this record:

"An Australian marine gobioid fish, Schindleria brevipinguis (family
Schindleriidae), was recently presented as 'almost certainly' the world's
smallest vertebrate maturing 'by 7 mm',-in-'7-8 mm' or '6.5-7 mm' on
different pages in the paper (Watson & Walker 2004). Of the six known
specimens, however, sexual maturity was objectively established only for the
single female measuring 8.4 mm. Maturity of the smaller males seems to have
been inferred from the presence of the genital papilla as specimens were not
dissected. Without histological examination, sexual maturity can be
objectively established only by the presence of ripe eggs in the female's
ovaries. That means, however, that Trimmatom nanus, another marine
gobioid (Gobiidae), which has 'fully developed eggs ... present from a
standard length of 8 mm and greater' (largest known individual 10.2 mm)
(Winterbottom & Emery 1981), is the smallest previously recorded

Furthermore ...

"The discovery of P. progenetica, with a mature female of just 7.9 mm and a
maximum size of 10.3 mm, makes it the smallest recorded vertebrate species,
slightly smaller than the marine goby T. nanus. Paedocypris micromegethes,
the females of which mature-in-8.8 mm (maximum 11.6 mm), comes a close
second as the smallest freshwater vertebrate.

"The 7.9 mm mature female of P. progenetica is not an unusually small
individual. The 1 mm mesh size that we use in peat swamps only rarely
catches specimens smaller than 7 mm and, therefore, introduces a size bias
in our samples. Our largest sample contains 56 females (MZB5998, 5999, ZRC
43199), including the 7.9 mm one and the individuals unambiguously
identifiable as females are 5.9-8.3 mm. The largest female is only slightly
larger than the smallest mature one."

Not taking sides here. It's just what the paper says.

Chris Scharpf
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