While walking on Tathra beach in February John Chapman came across a very strange looking fish. He gave it to his friends Sue and Don Cotterill who kindly agreed to bring the fish to the Australian Museum (Thank you Sue and Don!).
We examined the fish but could not put a species name on it with confidence. Retired Australian Museum larval fish expert Jeff Leis suggested that the fish was most likely a species of Laeops. Two species in the genus are currently known from Australian waters; the Smallhead Flounder, Laeops parviceps and Kitahara's Flounder, L. kitaharae.
It was at this point we turned to the expert - Japanese ichthyologist, Dr Atsushi Fukui. The fish will be sent on loan to Dr Fukui who will examine it and report his findings.
Update: 14 August 2014
On 22 July, we sent Dr Fukui some adult specimens of Laeops to help in his deliberations.
The larval specimen shown above is 9 cm long. It's registered in the Australian Museum Ichthyology Collection as AMS I.46386-001.
More to come ...
Updated: 25 August 2014
Dr Fukui confirmed that the larva is definitely a species of Laeops. He stated however that it is not possible to confirm which species it is because the "species composition of Laeops is not clear in NSW". He stated that more time is required to identify the larva.