Paraphyonus rassi

Common Name

Caribbean Blindfish

Year Described

Nielsen, 1975


Dorsal Fin: 75-81
Anal Fin: 75-81
Pectoral Fin: 12-15
Pelvic Fin: 1
Caudal Fin: 7
Gill Rakers: 3-4 (long rakers), the rest degenerate
Vertebrae: 68-71 (31-32 precaudal)

Elongate, relatively slender, and translucent, with loose gelatinous skin. Head very large with blunt snout. Mouth extending well past eye. Eye tiny and embedded under skin. Premaxillary, dentary, and vomer with small teeth. Pseudobranchs present. Penis with two small claspers. Dorsal fin origin further back than in Aphyonus gelatinosus (>40-45.5% SL). Dorsal and anal fins continuous with caudal fin.


Translucent pale brown with dark blue pigment on the peritoneum. Melanophores scattered on peritoneum and bases of fins. Dark pigment on roof of mouth that can be seen laterally under the eye.


Known specimens range from 24-71mm SL.


Abyssal depths from 2610-4440m.


Known from the Sargasso Sea, the Caribbean Sea, and off NE South America.


Anderson, M.E.; R.E. Crabtree, H.J. Carter, K.J. Sulak and M.D. Richardson. 1985. Distribution of Demersal Fishes of the Caribbean Sea Found Below 2000 meters. Bulletin of Marine Science 37 (3): 794–807.

Nielsen, J. G. 2015. Revision of the aphyonid genus Aphyonus (Teleostei, Ophidiiformes) with a new genus and two new species. Zootaxa, 4039(2), 323-344.

Nielsen, J.G., D.M. Cohen, D.F. Markle, and C.R. Robins. 1999. Ophidiiform fishes of the world (Order Ophidiiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of pearlfishes, cusk-eels, brotulas and other ophidiiform fishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(18): 178p.

Other Notes

Moved to the new genus Paraphyonus by Nielsen (2015) which is distinguished by lower dorsal and anal fin rays, lower verttebral counts, two claspers on penis, and otolith characters. Differs from P. iselini by having fewer long gill rakers (3-4 vs. 11-13) and most meristic values.