Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Ariomma melana, Brown Driftfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

body elongate
eye < / = snout
blackish; gut cavity dark
LL 50-65; scales to between front eyes
D to LL: 3+ rows scales

Ariomma melana (Ginsburg, 1954)

Brown Driftfish

Body slender (depth 24-25% SL); rounded; head long; snout short and blunt; eye moderately large (</= snout), covered with a fatty-tissue lid that extends to nostrils; mouth small, ends before eye, upper jaw almost completely covered by suborbital bone under eye; teeth tiny, conical, in a single row on jaws, lower teeth often with secondary points; no teeth on roof of mouth or on bases of gill arches; gill rakers slender, 9-11 + 18-20; operculum thin, with smooth edge; 2 dorsal fins that are almost not separated; first dorsal with XI long, slender spines that fold into a groove, second dorsal low, 14-15 rays; anal fin similar to second dorsal, 14-15 rays; pelvics inserted under or behind pectoral base, fold into a broad groove along belly midline; tail base short and slender, square in cross-section, with 2 low fleshy keels on base of tail fin; tail fin stiff and modearately forked; lateral line high along back, an extension forwards over eye; scales smooth, very thin and easily shed, 50-65 on lateral line, at least 3 rows between dorsal fin and lateral line; scales on head extend forward to front of eye.

Uniform brown to bluish brown, no spots; young with 3-6 dark bars on side; lining of gut cavity dark brown to black.

Reaches 25 cm.

Demersal to benthopelagic over muddy bottoms on outer continental shelf.

Depth range: 140-750 m, juveniles near surface, adults below 140 m.

E and W Atlantic; New York to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Water column
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathydemersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • No pelagic phase
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 25
Depth Range Min
  • 140
Depth Range Max
  • 750