Bajacalifornia megalops

Common Name

Bigeye Slickhead

Year Described

L├╝tken, 1898


Dorsal Fin: 14-19
Anal Fin: 13-16
Pectoral Fin: 12-17
Pelvic Fin: 7-9
Lateral Line:
Gill Rakers: 24-29 (total on first arch)
Pyloric Caeca: 11-26
Vertebrae: 31-32 precaudal, 19-20 caudal

Body moderately elongate and slender, with a large head. Eyes slightly larger to smaller than than snout. A conical knob at the tip of snout. Teeth present in a single row in upper and lower jaws. Rear margin of jaw extends to the posterior margin of orbit. Dorsal fin origin anterior to anal fin. Pelvic and pectoral fins very small. Scales absent on head. Scales on body moderate (22-25 transverse rows from first lateral scale to dorsal fin).


Uniformly brownish


Adults to 28cm SL. Maximum size to 41.5cm SL.


Adults benthopelagic from 820-1,425m. Juveniles bathypelagic over a wider depth range (250-3,182).


Eastern U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.


Markle, D.F. and G. Krefft, 1985. A new species and review of Bajacalifornia (Pisces: Alepocephalidae) with comments on the hook jaw of Narcetes stomias. Copeia 1985(2): 345-356.

McEachran, J.D. and J.D. Fechhelm. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 1: Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin. i-viii + 1-1112.

Whitehead, P.J.P. , M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J.G. Nielsen and E. Tortonese. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Vol. I-III. UNESCO. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

Other Notes

The two western Atlantic Bajacalifornia spp. have relatvely low vertebral, gill raker, and transverse scale row counts compared to the other species in the genus.