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Author: Risso, 1840

Notacanthus bonapartei Risso, 1840

Diagnosis: body slender and elongate. Greatest depth much less than head length, 20-25% gnathoproctal length. Snout produced, compressed; mouth inferior. Posterior end of upper jaw projecting beyond corner of mouth as a flesh-covered spine. Palatine and dentary teeth uniserial. Premaxillary teeth 14-22 on each side, compressed and adjoining to form a serrated cutting edge. Orbit equal to about 2/3 snout length. Inter-orbital space less than eye diameter. Gill membrane confluent ventrally. Lateral line inconspicuous. First dorsal fin spine inserted behind pelvic fin base. Pelvic fins united. Dorsal fin with 5-9 isolated spines; anal fin with 11-14 spines plus 100-140 soft rays; pelvic fin with fulcral spine plus II-IV + 7; pectoral finrays 9-12. Pyloric caeca 3-4. Colour: grey to pink; edge of gill cover and mouth darker. Size: to about 40 cm (gnathoproctal length to 15-20 cm).

Habitat: benthopelagic between 700 and 2,000 m. Behaviour. hovers and swims along at slight head-down angle. Often caught in large numbers and is possibly gregarious. Food: predominantly sessile or sedentary bottom invertebrates (including bryozoans, colonial hydrozoans, sponges, holothurians and ophiuroids) and detritus. Reproduction: spawning occurs in June and July in the Mediterranean. Average size of females is larger than that of males. Atlantic specimens apparently grow much larger than Mediterranean specimens.

Distribution: Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic from the Faroes and Ireland south to Cape Blanc.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Lozano Cabo, 1952: 1 | Smith, 1970: 1-9, fig.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

Shortfin spiny eel (Notacanthus bonapartei)