Melanocetus murrayi Click to enlarge image
A Murray's Abyssal Anglerfish from the Australian Museum Fish Collection (AMS I.22812-047). This fish was trawled at a depth of 800m, 300 km north-west of Port Hedland, Western Australia, April 1982. Image: Sally Reader
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    murrayi
    Genus
    Melanocetus
    Family
    Melanocetidae
    Order
    Lophiiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    Females grow to 12 cm in length but males only grow to 2 cm.

Introduction

Deepsea Blackdevils live their sexually dimorphic lives the deepsea.



Identification

The Deepsea Blackdevil is a soft-bodied fish that lacks scales and pelvic fins. It has a large head and mouth, with long pointed teeth. There is a short illicium with a bulbous esca on the snout. Live fish are black.


Melanocetus murrayi
A Murray's Abyssal Anglerfish from the Australian Museum Fish Collection (AMS I.22812-047). This fish was trawled at a depth of 800m, 300 km north-west of Port Hedland, Western Australia, April 1982. Image: S. Reader
© Australian Museum

Habitat

The Deepsea Blackdevil is a bathypelagic species.

Distribution

The species occurs worldwide in deep tropical and temperate waters. In Australia the species has been collected from scattered localities off north-western Western Australia, but is almost certainly more widespread.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



Breeding behaviours

The species is sexually dimorphic.

References

  1. Bertelsen, E., 1990. Melanocetidae. in Quero, J.C., Hureau, J.C., Karrer, C. Post, A. & L. Saldanha (eds.) Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic (CLOFETA). JNICT, Lisbon; SEI, Paris; and UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 1. v-xxxii, 1-519.
  2. Bertelsen, E., & Pietsch, T.W. 1983. The Ceratioid Anglerfishes of Australia. Records of the Australian Museum. 35: 77-99.
  3. Paxton, J.R., D.F. Hoese, G.R. Allen & J.E. Hanley. 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia Vol.7 Pisces Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Survey. Pp. i-xii, 1-665.