Malacocephalus laevis

Author: (Lowe, 1843)

Malacocephalus laevis (Lowe, 1843)

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Malacocephalus (Malacocephalus) laevis (Lowe, 1843) (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: head large, length about 15-20% of body length; trunk short, tapering evenly to pointed tail. Snout short and blunt, less than eye diameter; mouth large, subterminal, upper jaw long, more than onethird head length, teeth in upper jaw in 2 rows, outer enlarged, a single row in lower jaw; chin barbel a little over half eye diameter; gillrakers 7-9; branchiostegal rays 7. First dorsal fin with 11-13 finrays, the second finray smooth; second dorsal fin beginning a short distance behind first, the finrays short; pectoral fin with 17-19 finrays, its base high up on flank and below dorsal fin origin; pelvic fin with 8-10 (usually 9) finrays, its insertion before pectoral fin base; anal fin origin, far forward, below dorsal fin base. Scales small, with numerous spinules. Pyloric caeca branched. Anus in naked area between pelvic insertion and anal fin origin. Light organ represented by two scaleless 'windows', the first semicircular or kidney-shaped, between bases of outer pelvic finrays, the second (if present) circular, smaller, and Iying between first and anus. Colour: greyish or brownish, mouth white, but gill covers, gular and branchiostegal membranes and abdomen dark brown to blackish; median fins greyish (except tip of first dorsal fin), paired fins blackish. Juveniles with a pattern of large spots on light background. Size: to 50 cm TL.

Habitat: benthopelagic at 200-1,000 m, commonest at 300-750 m. Food: crustaceans; also squid beaks found in stomach. Reproduction: no data.

Distribution: Atlantic northward from Morocco to the Faroes and Shetlands. Elsewhere, southward to southern Africa, also western Atlantic (Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, off Pernambuco), Indian Ocean (East Africa to Bay of Bengal), Indonesia and Australia.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Juvenile phase spotted (Marshall, 1964).
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.