Pogonophryne maculiventrata

Common Name

Spotbelly Plunderfish

Year Described

Spodareva & Balushkin, 2014


Dorsal Fin: II, 28
Anal Fin: 17
Pectoral Fin: 18-19
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Caudal Fin: 8-11 (branched rays)
Gill Rakers: 14 (total in first arch)
Branchiostegal rays: 5
Upper Lateral Line Scales: 24 (tubular)
Middle Lateral Line Scale: 17-21 (disc-shaped anteriorly and tube-shaped posteriorly)
Vertebrae: 38

A “marmorata group” plunderfish. Body elongate, flattened ventrally, with a large and wide head. Post-temporal ridges well developed. Eyes large. Snout flattened and constricted; length equal to orbit. Two dorsal fins: one a very small spiny fin over opercle and the other a long-based fin consisting of rays. Second dorsal quite high. Anal fin shorter in height with origin well behind dorsal origin. Pectoral fin large and fan-shaped. Pelvic fin jugular, rounded and fairly long. Caudal fin rounded. Lower jaw extends well 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 mid-dorsal fin and the other on the lateral midline on the rear body and caudal peduncle. Mental barbel fairly short (~25% HL) with an flattened, expanded tip (48% barbel length) covered in longitudinal folds.


Body gray with numerous dark vermiculations and small spots intermingled. Edge of mouth, opercular spine, belly, and lower head cream. Belly conspiciously marked with large dark spots. Pectoral fin with several dark bands and a pale margin. Pelvic fin with dark spots and pale margin. Anal and dorsal fins dark with a thick pale border. Caudal fin dark with a thin pale vertical band and a thicker pale edging. Peritoneum reddish. Mouth cream.


Holotype measures 20.3cm SL


Taken at 360m on the bottom.


Known only from the Bransfield Strait between the S. Shetland Is. and the Antarctic Peninsula.


Spodareva, V.V., & Balushkin, A.V. 2014. Description of a new species of plunderfish of genus Pogonophryne (Perciformes: Artedidraconidae) from the Bransfield Strait (Antarctica) with a key for the identification of species of the group “marmorata”. Journal of Ichthyology, 54(1), 1-6.

Other Notes

This species is known only from one specimen and so the range of variation is unknown. It co-occurs with Pogonophryne skorai which is determined by the barbel morphology and aspects of color pattern. The spotted belly seems unique among it’s group.

Given the close genetic similarity between Pogonophryne species in each of the 5 major clades, the alpha taxonomy has not been settled until more specimens of all described species have been studied and molecular analysis can help separate them. Barbel morphology seems to be quite variable, as well as color. It may be possible that all Pogonophryne in the marmorata group refer to just one or two species.