Cataetyx messieri

Common Name

Messier's Brotula

Year Described

Günther, 1878


Dorsal Fin: 100-116
Anal Fin: 70-86
Pectoral Fin: 22-32
Caudal Fin: 8-11
Vertebrae: 62-64
Gill Rakers: 3 rakers (first arch)

Body elongate and tapering to the rear. Anterior head and snout flattened (duck-billed). Anterior nostril tubular and overhangs lips. Rear nostril a pit. Eye fairly small and directed dorsally. Teeth in both jaws, palatine, and vomer. Mouth reaches well beyond eye. Maxilla sunken and overhung by infraorbital area. Lower jaw tip with blunt knob. A strong opercular spine is present. Pectoral fin medium sized and fan shaped with a short peduncle. Dorsal and anal fins are continuous with caudal fin. Pelvic fin a single filamentous ray. Body and head fully scaled. Lateral line double.


Uniformly dark brown to gray with a paler belly. Fins with darker margins.


Maximum size to 60-70cm TL.


Benthic from 140–1649m.


Known from the South Atlantic from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to southern Argentina. Also off Chile.


Landaeta, M.F., Balbontín, F., & G.A. Herrera. 2008. Larval development of the Patagonian brotula Cataetyx messieri (Pisces, Bythitidae) from fjords of southern Chile. Journal of Fish Biology, 73(1), 302-310.

Mincarone, M.M., Nielsen, J.G., & P.A. Costa. 2008. Deep-sea ophidiiform fishes collected on the Brazilian continental slope, between 11 and 23 S. Zootaxa, 1770(1), 41-64.