The subfamily Lycodinae is represented in the Sea of Japan by two genera (Lycodes and Petroschmidtia) and seven species (Lycodes japonicus, L. nakamurae, L. raridens, L. tanakae, L. teraoi, L. yamatoi, and Petroschmidtia toyamensis), which are widely distributed on the shelf and upper continental slope. Based on the geographic and bathymetric distribution of eelpouts of the Sea of Japan and adjacent waters, two groups of closely related species with different types of distribution ranges were distinguished. The first group includes pairs of species that live primarily on the continental slope and are completely isolated in the Sea of Japan or in the Sea of Okhotsk. The second group is comprised of upper interzonal species of the Sea of Japan that are found on the continental slope and shelf, as well as in the southern Sea of Okhotsk from Terpeniya Bay to the southern Kuril Islands. Their related species in the Sea of Okhotsk are mostly found to the north of the Terpeniya Bay. The study of the eelpout distribution and the data on the geological history and paleoclimate of the Far East show that the Lycodinae fauna of the Sea of Japan was formed from North Pacific eelpout-like fishes during the isolation of the sea in the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene, which was concomitant with the general cooling of the Earth’s climate. During the Pleistocene interglacials, the eelpout migrations were unidirectional, from the Sea of Japan to the southern Sea of Okhotsk. The reconstruction of the formation of the Sea of Japan Lycodinae fauna suggests that the related taxa from the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk are separate species, while the northern and southern forms of species from the Sea of Japan (Lycodes yamatoi and L. teraoi) are no more than subspecies.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 7, 2013
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