Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Hydrolagus melanophasma, Eastern-black ghost-shark

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

all black, pale band over snout
eye small
D2 no indentation, long base
D1 long curved spine passes fin
snout conical

Hydrolagus melanophasma James et al, 2009

Eastern-black ghost-shark

Body compressed, elongate, tapering to a filamentous tail; head very large; snout short, round, conical; eyes relatively small (<9% body length), bright green; nostrils large, before mouth, connected to outer corner of mouth by a deep groove covered with a flap; mouth under head; teeth are plates, 2 pairs above, 1 pair below; gill opening before pectoral, covered by fleshy operculum; 2 separate dorsal fins; 1st dorsal fin large, triangular, erect, with a long attached spine at front, that spine curved, with upper ½-1/3 extending past tip of fin; 2nd dorsal fin low, relatively long based (77.3-88.1% of length from operculum to origin of upper tail fin lobe, its border  of uniform height throughout; anal fin absent; pectoral fins broad, triangular, relatively large, reaching past pelvic origin; pelvic fins broad, triangular; tail fin elongate, lance-like, both lobes about equal in height , with a whip-like rear filament; lateral line canals well developed, on head and body noticeably open; skin smooth, no scales; males with large, multipointed external sex organs.
Color: uniform black; a pale band across the snout.
Reaches 128 cm.
Depth range: 30-1800 m.
Lives on soft bottoms.
Southern California to northern Chile, thought to be mainly antitropical,
although occurs in Panama.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Sand & gravel
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathydemersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • No Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • No data
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • TEP non-endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Temperate Eastern Pacific, primarily
  • Continent only
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Antitropical (North and South temperate)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 128
Depth Range Min
  • 30
Depth Range Max
  • 1800