Scales and otoliths as identity cards of the Indian oil sardine Sardinella longiceps (Teleostei: Clupeiformes) populations: Ultrastructure and ornamentation characteristics using light and scanning electron microscopy

Saud M. Al Jufaili*, Sorour Echreshavi, Hamid Reza Esmaeili, Majid K. Al Alawi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scale and otolith morphology and morphometry of Indian oil sardine Sardinella longiceps (Clupeidae) were investigated and described using light and scanning electron microscopy from eight different body regions for scales and the right and left otoliths. Scales of the Indian oil sardine show general characteristics of the other studied clupeids sand that are easily distinguishable from other fish groups, by having striae in the posterior field. The studied cycloid scales of S. longiceps were classified into three types based on the overall shape including circular (e.g. true circular and cordate), pentagonal and quadrilateral in the different body regions. The circular shape was the most common shape (87.5%), while the quadrilateral and pentagonal forms constituted 6.25% each. The results also showed that the relative scale size (J-index) plays a desirable contribution in separating the examined populations. The results showed that the mean (or relative) scale size for all the eight regions in the Oman Sea population is larger than the Arabian Sea population. Also, another scale variable, the scale shape index (Si index), demonstrated variation (a mean of 0.86 to 1.1) in different regions of both populations from the Oman and Arabian Seas. Interestingly, here, we found that scale characters of S. longiceps not only differ from its other congeneric species, but also differ in the populations from both sides of the Oman Sea (Iran and Oman) and the Arabian Sea. It shows a positive signal for the presence of different taxonomic and management unit in the Oman and Arabian Seas. The idea should be approved by using integrated molecular and morphological traits. The otolith morphology of S. longiceps from the Oman and Arabian Seas was more conservative than the scales, which can be due to its function actin primarily as a balance organ and also enhancing hearing. The overall shape of S. longiceps otolith was lanceolate, with an elongated morphology and a well-developed rostrum, an ostial sulcus acusticus that opens to the anterior/ dorsal margin. These morphological characters are also found in the Iranian population of S. longiceps. However, otolith displayed variation in biometric parameters among two populations and left and right otoliths and the RRL parameter were important characters to discriminate the Oman and Arabian Sea populations. Thus, the structural/biometrical variability of the otoliths may be used for population distinctness, especially in water bodies with various environmental factors, and the otolith has turned out to be a useful tool to track the life history of teleostean fishes in environments with physicochemical gradients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Zoologica
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Arabian Sea
  • architecture pattern
  • morphology
  • Oman Sea
  • population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Cell Biology

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