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Author: Gmelin, 1788

Centrolophus niger Gmelin, 1788

Diagnosis: elongate body, small head with pores in the naked skin. Large mouth with no teeth on palate. Single dorsal fin originating just behind pectoral fin base and with about 5 weak spines graduating to the rays. D IV-V + 32-37; A III + 20-23; P 19-22. Scales very small, 160-230 in the lateral line. Colour: ranges from russet through chocolate brown, even to dark bluish; young have dark vertical bands. Size: to 150 cm SL.

Habitat: epi- or mesopelagic, offshore in temperate waters; occasionally taken over the continental shelf in bottom trawls. Behaviour: may form small schools at times. Young in the surface layers, adults deeper. Does not typically associate with floating objects. Food: appears to feed on whatever is available, with small fish, squid, large pelagic crustaceans, and other plankton being found in stomachs. Young may eat medusae, but not preferentially. Reproduction: spawning from autumn into winter. Growth of young very rapid (in 5 months a Mediterranean specimen increased from 2 to 17 cm). Allometry not marked. Jaw teeth increase in number with growth.

Distribution: temperate waters of the North Atlantic western Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea. A virtually indistinguishable form is widespread in the southern hemisphere. To date, young are known only from the eastern Atlantic and western Mediterranean.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Borsieri, 1902: 35. | Sanzo, 1932: fig. 1-12 | Padoa, 1937: 539-542, fig. 376-380, pl. 37 (fig. 3-8) | Haedrich, 1966: 210, fig. 6B.
Otoliths (sagitta). Frost, 1929a: 121, pl. 1 (fig. 6) | Sanz Echeverría, 1949: pl. 6 (fig. 1520).

Blackfish (Centrolophus niger)