Gymnachirus melas

Common Name

Naked Sole

Year Described

Nichols, 1916


Dorsal Fin: 62-70
Anal Fin: 44-52
Pectoral Fin: 1-3 (rudimentary on ocular side only)
Pelvic Fin: 5 (continuous with anal fin)

Head and body scaleless with loose skin. Blind side with many dermal folds. Mouth is terminal and tiny, with tiny villiform teeth only on blind side of jaws. Opercular cavity very small. Short dermal cirri (<2mm in adults) dorsal to ocular-side lateral line. Accessory lateral lines (perpendicular to lateral line) number 7-10. Third accessory lateral line has 35-79 (usually 47-62) pores.


Pale base color with 15-32 (usually 20-30) full and partial dark crossbands on the body from snout to caudal peduncle, breaking up into blotches on the dorsal and anal fins. Crossbands about as wide as interspaces. Three to five slightly curved bands on the caudal fin. Blind side pale. Juveniles melanic, without bands.


Mature adults from 8-10cm. Maximum size to 17cm SL.


Soft bottoms from 2-185m.


Massachusetts to the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas.


McEachran, J.D. and J.D. Fechhelm. 2005. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 2: Scorpaeniformes to Tetraodontiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin. i-viii +1-1004.

Munroe, T.A. 2002. Achiridae (pp 1925-1933). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 3: Bony fishes part 2 (Opistognathidae to Molidae), sea turtles and sea mammals. FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5.