Porichthys plectrodon

Common Name

Atlantic Midshipman

Year Described

Jordan & Gilbert, 1882


Dorsal Fin: II, 33-39
Anal Fin: 30-35
Pectoral Fin: 16-19
Pelvic Fin: I, 2
Gill Rakers: 10-17 (total)
Vertebrae: 41-47
Photophores: 21-30 (mandibular), 34-49 (branchiostegal), 32-49 (gular), 29-41 (gastric), 31-46 (ventral), 30-40 (anal)

Photophores on body. Anterior end of branchiostegal photophore series with a forward-facing, U-shaped commissure. A single opercular spine. Uppermost pectoral fin rays with glands present. No scales. Four lateral lines.


Body pattern highly variable: from overall darkly pigmented with diffuse spots (deepwater) to pale with bold dark spotting on the dorsal half of the body. Often with several dark saddles. Pectoral fin lightly pigmented with dark pigment basally. Anal fin with dark margin. Dorsal fin with interrupted dark margin. Basal caudal fin with dark pigment.


Maximum size to 290mm SL.




Continental waters from Virginia to N.E. Brazil. Not sound at insular Caribbean sites.


Gilbert, C. R. 1968. Western Atlantic batrachoidid fishes of the genus Porichthys, including three new species. Bulletin of Marine Science v. 18 (no. 3): 671-730.