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Author: Parr, 1928

Bathypterois phenax Parr, 1928

Diagnosis: nearly identical in all respects with B. mediterraneus, except for nine-rayed pelvic fins. Dorsal finrays 13-15; anal finrays 8-10; pelvic finrays 9, pectoral finrays 9-11, visible externally, two uppermost rays pronounced (111-131% SL); lowermost caudal ray(s) 21-30% SL. Lateral line scales 55-60. Colour: black. Size: to 18 cm (max.), usually smaller.

Habitat: this is the common small black spiderfish of bathyal depths in the western North Atlantic. Depth range 800-2,650 m, commonly found between 1,200 and 2,000 m. Behaviour: rests on bottom with use of elongated, stiffened outer pelvic and lower caudal finrays (tripod). Sensory pectoral fins are thrown forward in front of head. Fish faces into current. Has been observed and photographed via submersible (Cohen & Pawson, 1977; Sulak, 1977c). Food: benthopelagic plankton. Reproduction: monoecious.

Distribution: a single specimen known from the north-eastern Atlantic above 10° N (Rannou & Gaborit-Rezzouk, 1976). Otherwise limited to the zone between the Gulf of Guinea and South Africa (Golovan, 1976; Sulak, 1977b) in the eastern Atlantic. Numerous records in the western Atlantic between 40° N and 9° N, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Also recorded off southern Brazil (Pakhorukov, 1976).

Eggs, larvae and young stages. No data.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

Blackfin spiderfish (Bathypterois phenax)