2015 Volume 20 Issue 2 Pages 129-133
The validity of the platycephalid species Platycephalus clavulatus Cantor, 1849, described from a single specimen collected in the sea of Pinang (=Penang), Malaysia, is evaluated. Although it has been suggested that the holotype of the species is a specimen registered as BMNH 1818.104.22.1680 in the Natural History Museum, London (BMNH), which is identifiable as Cociella punctata (Cuvier, 1829), the total length (TL) of the holotype reported by Cantor is 5 7/8 inches (=149 mm), significantly longer than the damaged BMNH specimen, which is estimated to have had a TL of 121 mm. According to the original description of P. clavulatus, the holotype has 11 second dorsal and anal fin rays, one preorbital spine, and two suborbital spines, values which agree with those of C. punctata, a species widely distributed in the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, including Penang. Although these characters are also present in Cociella crocodila (Cuvier, 1829), that species is known only from Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan. We conclude that P. clavulatus is conspecific with C. punctata and is a junior synonym of that species.