Alepisaurus brevirostris

Common Name

Shortnose Lancetfish

Year Described

Gibbs, 1960


Dorsal Fin: 40-48
Anal Fin: 13-16
Pelvic Fin: 8-10
Pectoral Fin: 12-14

Body very elongate, slender, and compressed. Head short (<17% SL). Snout short and pointed (25-33% HL). Jaws with strong teeth. Dorsal fin very high and sail-like, depressable along dorsal midline. Anterior of dorsal fin low, becoming highest at midpoint of fin, with no filamentous rays. Dorsal fin origin in front of pectoral fin. Adipose fin present. Anal fin small and low; inserted under rearmost dorsal fin rays. Pectoral fin ventrally inserted. Pelvic fins short at midbody. Caudal peduncle with lateral adipose keel. No scales on body.


Dark brown to black above, becoming silvery white below, often with an iridescent sheen. Dorsal fin black to blue-black with a series of white spots on the base of the fin. Other fins dark.


Maximum size to 96cm SL.


Mesopelagic from 640-1591m.


Widely distributed: Greenland to off Canada, the east coast of the U.S., off the Lesser Antilles, and Brazil. Probably widespread in deep waters in the entire area.


Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2012.FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication., version (08/2012).

Thompson, B.A. 2002. Alepisauridae (pp. 940). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 2: Bony fishes part 1 (Acipenseridae to Grammatidae). FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5. FAO of the U.N., Rome.