Bellottia cryptica

Common Name

Cryptic Brotula

Year Described

Nielsen, Ross & Cohen, 2009


Dorsal Fin: 92
Anal Fin: 84
Pectoral Fin: 23
Caudal Fin: 7
Vertebrae: 10 precaudal, 49 total
Gill Rakers: 5 (long rakers)

Body short and robust (depth at anal fin origin 17%). Tail tapering. Head very large (>30% SL). Head pores well developed. Mouth large. Fangs well developed. Preopercle with four obvious spines on margin but none at apex. Opercular spine covered in skin. Spine present on cleithrum above pectoral base. Dorsal fin near mid-body. Anal fin almost under dorsal fin origin (below dorsal ray 8). Dorsal and anal fins continuous with tail. Pelvic fins absent. Pectoral fin fanlike with a short peduncle. Body fully scaled. Head only partly scaled.


Body light brown with a darker head and bluish abdomen. Margins of median fins dark brown. Eye brown.


Known specimen is a 42mm SL female.


Found on hardbottom habitats and Lophelia reefs. Likely found deep within the structure of the reef and quite rare. Known specimen was taken by a submersible at 629m while it swam over the bottom.


Known only from one specimen off the coast of the eastern U.S. (off Georgia).


Nielsen, J.G., Ross, S.W., & D.M. Cohen. 2009. Atlantic occurrence of the genus Bellottia (Teleostei, Bythitidae) with two new species from the Western North Atlantic. Zootaxa, 2018(1), 45-57.

Other Notes

This genus is known from very few specimens but the two Atlantic species seem to be distinguished by the number of precaudal vertebrae, the presence of a spine on the preopercular crest, origin of anal fin, and body depth (Nielsen et al., 2009).