Head Deformity in Epinephelus diacanthus (Teleostei: Epinephelidae) and Oreochromis mossambicus (Teleostei: Cichlidae) Collected from Saudi Arabia and Oman, with a New Record of E. diacanthus to the Arabian Gulf Waters

  • Laith A. Jawad
  • Mustafa Ibrahim


Specimens of spinycheek grouper Epinephelus diacanthus (Teleostei: Epinephelidae) and the Mozambique tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus (Teleostei: Cichlidae) were reported in this study to show the case of head deformity in individuals of Epinephelus diacanthus collected from waters in the vicinity of Jubail City, Saudi Arabia. Individuals of Oreochromis mossambicus were obtained from the fish market, which are originally collected and brought from the neighbouring Sultanate of Oman have shown pugheadness deformity. The specimen of Epinephelus diacanthus shown to have short neurocranium, absence of upper jaw and normal lower jaw, with the mouth nearly closed. The specimen of Oreochromis mossambicus showed short neurocranium and a normal upward directed upper and lower jaws. The mouth was nearly closed, with the two sides being stuck, which means that the deformity has a significant effect on the mechanism of mouth operation. The case of O. mossambicus is considered more severe than the case of E. diacanthus in spite of missing few bony elements. The possible causes for such deformities are discussed. The first new documented record of Epinephelus diacanthus in the Arabian Gulf waters is reported based on one specimen with total length 420 mm, which has been collected by gill net on the coast of Jubail City. Morphometric and meristic data are provided.


Range extension Pudgeheadedness Upper jaw deformity Aberration Abnormality Oman Tilapia 



We would like to thank the Ministry of Agriculture, Fish Welfare Branch, Jubail Province, Saudi Arabia for giving us the opportunity to examine and study the deformed fish specimens. Our thanks are also due to Sergey Bogorodsky of Station of Naturalists, Omsk, Russia and Ronald Fricke of Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde, Rosenstein, Germany, William Smith-Vaniz, Florida Museum of Natural History, for identification of the species.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Ministry of Agriculture, Fish Welfare BranchJubailSaudi Arabia

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