Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Helicolenus dactylopterus, Blackbelly Rosefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

no pit behind eyes
D XII, 11.5+
5 dark bars (V-shape under soft D)
roof mouth with teeth
ridge under eye - no spines
preoperculum - 2nd spine largest

Helicolenus dactylopterus (Delaroche, 1809)

Blackbelly Rosefish

Head very bony, pointed, with low spines; no fleshy tabs or cirri on head; snout short; eye large; ridge under eye with 0-1 spines; no pit on top of head behind eyes; 2nd (below top) preopercular spine the largest; roof of mouth with teeth on sides but not at center; dorsal XII,11.5-12.5; anal III, 5; pectorals square, with upper rays branched in adult, lower rays with tips extending beyond fin membrane; scales rough; lateral line complete, with tubes on scale.

Red above, pinkish white below; dark bars on side – 3 under spiny dorsal, 1 V shaped bar under soft dorsal, one on tail base; bars less obvious in adults; gill chamber and inside mouth purplish black; juveniles with a black blotch on rear dorsal spines.

Reaches 50 cm.

Lives on soft bottoms.

Depth range: 64-1515 m, usually below 200 m in our area.

E and W Atlantic, Mediterranean, and SE Africa; Canada to Argentina.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathydemersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Pelagic jellyfish/ctenophores
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • 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
  • 50
Depth Range Min
  • 64
Depth Range Max
  • 1515