Hymenocephalus italicus

Author: Giglioli, 1884

Hymenocephalus italicus Giglioli, 1884

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Hymenocephalus (Hymenocephalus) italicus Giglioli in Giglioli and Issel, 1884 (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: body slender and rather cylindrical, head as wide as deep, the dermal bones thin and weak. Snout rather blunt; mouth large, upper jaw reaching back beyond eye, oblique and subterminal, 3-6 rows of minute teeth in both jaws; gillrakers 16-21, elongate and spiny; chin barbel present. First dorsal fin with 10-13 finrays, the second finray smooth; second dorsal fin beginning some distance behind, with very short finrays; pectoral fin with 12-15 finrays pelvic fin with 11 (rarely 10) finrays. Scales large and thin, with spinules on some. Pyloric caeca 10-20 (mode 14), short, sometimes branched. Light organ along belly. Colour: brownish, abdomen dark, as also jaws, gill cover, branchiostegal membrane and nape (but iris, cheeks, gill cover and sides of abdomen probably silvery in life); peppering of melanophores along tail, more dense in upper half. Size: to at least 25 cm TL.

Habitat: benthopelagic at 300-800 m. Food: feeds essentially on planktonic animals (especially copepods and euphausids). Reproduction: ripe ovarian eggs are 1.00-1.09 mm in diameter; in a presumed juvenile from the Straits of Messina of 10.2 cm, half this length was a caudal filament ending in a black-tipped leaf-like expansion.

Distribution: Atlantic, from Morocco to northern Portugal, also throughout Mediterranean. Elsewhere, southward to Angola, also western North Atlantic (Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean) and Indian Ocean.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Sanzo, 1933a: 255.
Otoliths (sagitta). Vaillant, 1888: 212, pl. XIX (fig. 1a).