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Author: (Krefft & Maul, 1955)

Scopelosaurus lepidus (Krefft & Maul, 1955)

Diagnosis: body elongate, slender; head rather large; posterior infra-orbital bones with a prominent anterior crest bordering eye and a posterior expanded, lobed lamella; lower jaw with an anterior unpaired primary pore followed by two pairs of such pores in anterior half, secondary pores numerous. Teeth small, on premaxillae uniserial in young, in narrow band in adults, dentary in two bands, on vomer and palatine in two or three groups. Gillrakers rather long, lath-like, 1 + 1 + 17-18. Dorsal fin origin at about midpoint of body with (10) 11-12 finrays; a short adipose dorsal fin present; anal fin with (16)17-19 finrays; pectoral fin very large, with 13-15 finrays; pelvic fin distinctly in front of dorsal fin, with 9 finrays; caudal fin forked. Scales cycloid, deciduous; lateral line 60-64. Vertebrae (58) 59-61. Pyloric caeca 18-30. Colour: in specimens longer than about 120 mm SL, pectoral fins with a large black patch covering their basal two-thirds and a broad whitish distal band. Size: to 365 mm SL.

Habitat: nerito-oceanic; bentho- to mesopelagic at 500-800 m (adults), mesopelagic to almost epipelagic at 70-200 m (young). Food: small specimens feed mainly on copepods, large ones on euphausiids, hyperiids and mesopelagic fishes. Adults undertake far-ranging feeding migrations (outside the spawning season) to the slope areas of Europe, North America and West Africa. Reproduction: spawning most probably occurs in midwater far offshore, with a concentration in the Sargasso Sea. Young larvae cannot be distinguished from those of S. argenteus. A single adult specimen in near-spawning condition (taken pelagically at 48° 30' N, 18° 00' W, fishing from 2,750 m to the surface) showed no atrophy of teeth and gillrakers, suggesting that their loss must occur only in the final phase of maturation.

Distribution: from East Greenland and Iceland southward to 30° N. Elsewhere, off West Greenland, Labrador, Great Banks and West Africa; a few larvae have been found in the central Atlantic between 20° N and 20° S.

Eggs, etc. Bertelsen, Krem & Marshall, 1976: 76-78, fig. 5l (larval development).
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

Scopelosaurus lepidus