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Author: Delaroche, 1809

Helicolenus dactylopterus dactylopterus Delaroche, 1809

Diagnosis: head large with the spination described for the genus and without tabs or tentacles. Profile of nape relatively steeply inclined. Villiform teeth on both jaws; mouth large, dark coloured inside. Dorsal fin with 11-13 spines (usually 12) and 10-14 rays (usually 11-13); anal fin with 3 spines and 5 rays; pectoral fin with 17-20 rays, the 8 or 9 lowermost free for about a third of their length. Lateral line with tubular scales. Scales ctenoid, 55-80 vertical rows of scales; chest, cheek and maxilla usually scaled, snout and ventral part of head naked. Vertebrae usually 25. Gillrakers well developed, 7-9 on upper arch, 16-21 on lower arch. Colour: variable, back and sides red, belly pink; 5-6 dark bands below anterior, middle and posterior dorsal spines, below soft dorsal rays and at the base of caudal fin; usually a dark blotch on the posterior part of spinous dorsal fin. Size: to 44 cm, usually to 20 cm.

Habitat: benthic on the slope of the continental shelf between 200 and 1,000 m. Food: feeds on both pelagic and benthic organisms (crustaceans, fishes, cephalopods and echinoderms). Reproduction: from November to December in southern waters, February-March in Mediterranean; pelagic larvae and juveniles.

Distribution: in the Clofnam area from Norway to Morocco, the Azores, Madeira and the Canaries; Mediterranean except Black Sea.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Holt, 1899: 21 | Lo Bianco, 1909: 749 | Fage, 1918: 105, fig. 73-74 | Sparta, 1956: 619, fig. 500 503, pl. 38 (fig. 25-27), pl. 39 (fig. 1-6) | Marinaro, 1968: 133, 5 pl.
Otoliths (sagitta). Jaquet, 1907: 40, fig. 32A-K | Sanz Echeverría, 1926: 156, fig. 55 | Chaine & Duvergier, 1934: 194, Pl. 7 | Bauzá-Rullán, 1959: 95, pl. 2 (fig. 24-28).

Rockfish (Helicolenus dactylopterus)