Luvarus imperialis

Author: Rafinesque, 1810

Luvarus imperialis Rafinesque, 1810

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Luvarus imperialis Rafinesque, 1810 (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: body deep and compressed, tapering to a slender caudal peduncle with a strong fleshy horizontal keel and a pair of smaller keels at base of caudal fin on each side. Head bulky, its dorsal profile rising steeply from snout; mouth low down, small and toothless (teeth present in juveniles), eye small and low down. Pectoral fins well developed, pelvic fins rudimentary; dorsal fin set far back on body, with 12-14 fin rays (22-24 in juveniles, the fin origin further forward); anal fin similarly far back in adults, with 13-14 finrays (15-18 in juveniles); caudal fin lunate. Colour: highly distinctive, the back metallic blue, the flanks pink-red, the belly silvery with rosy reflections; pectoral, anal and caudal fins pink or red, dorsal fin pink in front, then blackish. Size: to 188 cm SL, usually 60-152 cm.

Habitat: oceanic, in deeper waters off continental shelf, sometimes in shallower waters near coasts (where most captures have been made); apparently solitary. Food: plankton and in one Madeiran example a large quantity of salps; gut long. Reproduction: Iate spring and summer (in Mediterranean at least); juveniles unlike adults, the median fins being longer and further forward, the mouth toothed and the body and fins black-spotted.

Distribution: Bergen southward to Madeira and near the Azores, also Mediterranean (mainly western part). Elsewhere, southern parts of Atlantic, also northern and southern parts of Indc-Pacific (Japan, Australia).

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Roule, 1924: 119, fig. 1-15, 17-18 | Gregory and Conrad, 1943: 272, fig. 37-38 | Blache, 1964: 57, fig. | Topp and Girardin (in press).
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.