Pogonophryne mentella

Common Name

Barbeled Plunderfish

Year Described

Andriashev, 1967


Dorsal Fin: II-III, 27-29
Anal Fin: 17-19
Pectoral Fin: 19-21
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Caudal Fin: 8-11 (branched rays)
Gill Rakers: 15-19 (total in first arch)
Branchiostegal rays: 5
Upper Lateral Line Scales: 19-26 (tubular anteriorly, disc-shaped posteriorly)
Middle Lateral Line Scale: 8-20 (disc-shaped anteriorly and tube-shaped posteriorly)
Vertebrae: 36-38

A “mentella group” plunderfish. Body elongate, flattened ventrally, with a large and wide head. Post-temporal ridges not developed. Eyes large. Snout flattened and constricted; length equal to orbit. Interorbital wide (6.1-8.5 in HL). Two dorsal fins: one a very small spiny fin over opercle and the other a long-based fin consisting of rays. Second dorsal fairly low. Anal fin shorter than dorsal in height with origin well behind dorsal origin. Pectoral fin large and fan-shaped. Pelvic fin jugular, pointed, and fairly long. Caudal fin truncate. Lower jaw extends beyond upper. Mouth reaching middle or orbit; protractile. Jaws with small teeth. No teeth on vomer or palate. Upper opercular edge with a pointed, hook-like projection. Body naked. Two lateral lines: one on the upper body ending under the posterior half of dorsal fin and the other on the lateral midline on the rear body and caudal peduncle. Mental barbel long (1.4-2.5 in HL) with an expanded tip (less than 2 times as wide as stalk and 25-40% of barbel length) covered in papillae (vary from pointed to branched).


Body and head pale with sparse dark blotches and spots, becoming larger and irregular on side. Head spots often center on cephalic pores. Belly either light or dark without blotches. Spiny dorsal pale or dark. Soft dorsal with faint oblique bands and dark spots on finrays. Anal fin pale. Pectoral fin varies from uniform light, dark, or with vertical bands. Pelvic fin dark with a pale margin. Caudal fin with 5-6 vertical spot-bands, a dark base, and a pale margin. Barbel pale orangish.


Maximum size to 21cm TL.


Caught over a wide depth range (210-1,116m). Bottom dwelling.


Sub-Antarctic: known from off the S. Shetland Is.


Balushkin, A.V. and R. Eakin. 1998. A new toad plunderfish Pogonophryne fusca sp. nova (Fam. Artedidraconidae: Notothenioidei) with notes on species composition and species groups in the genus Pogonophryne Regan. J. Ichthyol. 38(8):574-579.

Eakin, R.R. 1990. Artedidraconidae. p. 332-356. In O. Gon and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Fishes of the Southern Ocean. J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Grahamstown, South Africa.