Sci. Mar. 72S1: 2008 203 pages
Otolith atlas for the western Mediterranean, north and central eastern Atlantic
Victor M. Tuset, Antoni Lombarte and Carlos A. Assis

Otoliths are acellular concretions of calcium carbonate and other inorganic salts that develop over a protein matrix in the inner ear of vertebrates. They have essentially static and otic functions and are a useful tool for species identification and systematics studies. This Atlas provides morphological and morphometric information on the sagittal otoliths of 348 species of marine Teleost fishes that inhabit Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. Many otolith catalogues have been published since the end of the 1970s that illustrate the otoliths with line drawings or scanned electron microscope (SEM) images. This Atlas uses photographs of otoliths taken with a digital camera under a binocular microscope and therefore provides researchers with images that reproduce exactly what is observed in the laboratory. Whenever possible, images of different sized otoliths are provided to give an idea of shape changes related to fish size. In addition, the authors provide descriptions that focus on the most important and more easily observed characters that can be used in species identification. Morphometric indices are used to better describe and compare otolith shape. This Atlas was developed with much care and patience, and the authors hope that it will constitute an important instrument for species identification for paleontologists, archaeologists, feeding ecologists and fish taxonomists.

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