Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Benthodesmus tenuis, Slender frostfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

no nape crest
D XXXVIII-XLII, 78-87, notched, spiny part ~1/2 soft part
C small, forked
pelvics tiny I,1, UNDER/BEFORE pectoral base
A II, 69-76

Benthodesmus tenuis (Gunther, 1877)

Slender frostfish

Body extremely elongate and compressed, depth 2.8-5.5% SL; upper head profile rises smoothly from tip of snout to origin of dorsal fin; nape without a central, longitudinal crest; lower rear edge of gill cover convex; lower jaw projecting; tips of both jaws with a short skin knob in large fish; jaws with front fangs and slightly compressed side teeth; roof of mouth with 1 row of teeth on each side, none in center; gill rakers on first arch spiny; dorsal fin with long base, XXXVIII- XLII, 78-87 (total elements 118-128), partially divided by a shallow notch, base of spinous part about ½ length of base of soft part; anal fin II (close-set, 1st rudimentary, not visible in adults, 2nd comb-like, delicate, well forwards of rest of fin), 69-76, rays developed along entire fin; pectorals 12; pelvic fins minute, with a scale-like spine & a rudimentary soft ray, inserted before or below pectoral base; tail fin small, forked.

Silvery; jaws, operculum, and inside mouth and gill chamber black.

Reaches 230 cm


Depth range 200-850 m.

Pantropical; New York to Brazil.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Near Bottom
  • Mid Water
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Pelagic crustacea
  • No Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent
  • GC non-endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 230
Depth Range Min
  • 200
Depth Range Max
  • 850