Tapetails are elongate fishes that have the dorsal and anal fins positioned at the rear of the body. For many years they were classified in the family Mirapinnidae and ichthyologists pondered why adult tapetails were never collected. Now we know that they are in fact larval whalefishes (family Cetomimidae).
These larval fishes have a long caudal streamer (a ribbon of tissue often longer than the body) extending from the tail. The pelvic fins are jugular. P.brevis is dark brown. It lacks a lateral line and is scaleless. There are eight to ten rays in the pelvic fins.
P.brevis is a pelagic species that occurs in temperate marine waters.
The species is found in waters of the Indo-Pacific. In Australia it is known from off the coast of central New South Wales.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
- Bertelsen, E. Family Mirapinnidae in Smith, M.M & P.C. Heemstra (eds). 1986. Smiths' Sea Fishes. Macmillan. Pp. ix-xx, 1-1047.
- Herrera, G.A. & R.J. Lavenberg. 1995. Record of a larval Parataeniophorus brevisfrom Hawaii. Journal of Fish Biology. 46:908-911.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Paxton, J.R. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem. 1999. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 4. Bony fishes part 2 (Mugilidae to Carangidae). FAO. Rome Pp. iii-v, 2069-2790.