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Author: Rafinesque, 1810

Nettastoma melanurum Rafinesque, 1810

Diagnosis: body very elongate, scaleless, cylindrical anteriorly, compressed posteriorly and tapering to a point; anus before midpoint of body. Head long; anterior nostril tubular, at base of prominent snout tip; posterior nostril an oval hole at level of upper eye margin. Jaws elongate, the upper with prominent tip and longer than lower; rictus below posterior eye margin. Teeth in bands on jaws and vomer, their size diminishing slightly from inner rows to outer ones; no palatopterygoid teeth; plates of upper and lower pharyngeal teeth of same shape and size. Gill openings crescentic, lateral. Dorsal, anal and caudal fins confluent, well developed; dorsal fin origin over gill opening. Lateral line with 43-45 preanal pores; 7-9 before gill openings; 3 supratemporal pores. Vertebrae: total 186-207 (larvae 186-211 myomeres; preanal 60-70); abdominal 56-59. Colour: (preserved specimens) brownish dorsally, pale whitish-brown ventrally; posterior part of dorsal anc anal fins with a black margin; peritoneum black. Size: to 80 cm.

Habitat: bathybenthic, in holes on muddy bottoms of continental slope; young in upper levels. Food: carnivorous, mainly crustaceans. Reproduction: spawning in November - December in Bay of Algeria; eggs 2.4-3.0 mm diameter; leptocephali described from Mediterranean and Atlantic.

Distribution: western Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic northward to Portugal. Elsewhere, southward to Angola. Larvae also in western Atlantic (Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean).

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Kölliker, 1853b: 101 (Hyoprorus messinensis) | Kaup, 1856: 144, 150, pl. 16 (fig. 4), pl. 18 (fig. 14-14a) (Leptocephalus longirostris) | Carus, 1861: 125 | Gill, 1855: 207 | Günther, 1870: 8, 141, 144 | Moreau, 1881: 579 | Facciolà, 1883a: 4 | Bellotti, 1883: 173 | Vaillant, 1888: 95 | Cunningham, 1891: 39 | Jordan & Davis, 1892: 665 | Grassi & Calendruccio, 1892: 379 | Facciolà, 1893a: 99, 144, 148; 1893b: 311; 1893c: 29, 59; 1894a: 126; 1894b: 134 | Cunningham, 1895a: 279-280 | Grassi, 1896: 372 | Stramman, 1896: 38 40 | Facciolà, 1897b: 122 | Grassi, 1897a: 261 | Facciolà, 1901a: 45, pl. 7 (fig. 1); 1901b: 255 | Eigenmann, 1902a: 39 | Facclolà, 1903: 194 | Schmidt, 1906a: 146-147, 149; 1911b: 377, fig. 2; 1912b: pl. 4; 1913: 7, fig. 4 | Grassi, 1913: 10-11, 143, pl. 8 (fig. 22-43) (part.) | Lea, 1913: 32, fig. 33, pl. 5 (5) (Leptocephalus urosema) | Grassi, 1914a: 41-42, fig. 3 | Bertin, 1926: 330, tabl. 6 | Fish, 1927: 307-308 | Ancona, 1928: 519; 1930: pl. 138 (fig. 2); 1931: 119, fig. 98-100 | Bertin, 1935b: 102 | Sparta, 1942: 255, pl. I (fig. 11-13) | Castle, 1969: 24, 45, 47, 56 | Marinaro, 1971: pl. 3, fig. 4 | Blache, 1977 :172 (leptocephali).
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

Blackfin sorcerer (Nettastoma melanurum)