Pogonophryne skorai

Common Name

Skora's Plunderfish

Year Described

Balushkin & Spodareva, 2013


Dorsal Fin: II, 27
Anal Fin: 16-17
Pectoral Fin: 17-19
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Caudal Fin: 8-11 (branched rays)
Gill Rakers: 15-21 (total in first arch)
Branchiostegal rays: 5
Upper Lateral Line Scales: 21-25 (tubular); usually 23-24
Middle Lateral Line Scale: 11-17 (disc-shaped anteriorly and tube-shaped posteriorly); 16-17 usually
Vertebrae: 37

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 (male much higher in front). 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 (21-26% HL) with an small, narrow esca with folds that is much shorter than the barbel’s length (30-36%).


Body gray with medium sized and small spots on the head, or marbling intermingled to show pale reticulations on the sides. Edge of mouth, barbel, opercular spine, and lower head cream. Belly uniformly gray. 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. Males with the anterior part of the dorsal fin entirely black. Caudal fin with a dark central spot and a thicker pale circular margin. Peritoneum gray. Mouth gray.


Specimens range from 8-15.1cm SL.


Benthic from 360-490m.


Known from the South Shetland Islands and the Bransfield Strait.


Balushkin, A.V., & Spodareva, V.V. 2013. Pogonophryne skorai sp. n. (Perciformes: Artedidraconidae), a new species of toadlike plunderfish from the Bransfield Strait and coastal waters of the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. Russian Journal of Marine Biology, 39(3), 190-196.

Other Notes

This species is known only from 4 specimens and so the range of variation is unknown. It co-occurs with Pogonophryne maculiventrata which is determined by the barbel morphology and aspects of color pattern.

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.