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Vertebral column

Vertebrae or vertebral column were usually found in the stomachs. The shape and number of vertebrae in different fish species are different. Therefore, they are usually used for the identification of a fish found in the stomachs.

The general pattern of the vertebral column is expressed in the following format: T+P+C = S; where

T = Trunk (or Abdominal) vertebrae (with only neural spines)

P = Precaudal vertebrae (with haemal arches but no haemal spines)

C = Caudal vertebrae (with neural spines and haemal spines)

S = Total vertebrae

Vertebrae image results for Merluccius productus Merlucciidae (Pacific hake)

Vertebral column formula: 24 + 0 + 26 = 50

Note: The parapophyses of the trunk vertebrae of Pacific hake from 8 to 24 are extended out and down from the centrums and greatly thickened for and aft so that they form an almost continuous bony structure roofing the abdominal cavity (Clothier 1950). The specimen is 20 cm (FL).

Recommended Reference: Clothier, C. R. 1950. A key to some Southern California fishes based on vertebral characters. State of Califronia, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Game, Bureau of Marine Fisheries. Fish Bulletin no. 79. 83 p.

Link to taxonomic information for Merluccius productus Merlucciidae (Pacific hake) at

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