Cetomimus teevani

Common Name

Gulf Whalefish

Year Described

Harry, 1952


Dorsal Fin: 16
Anal Fin: 17
Pectoral Fin: 20
Lateral Line Pores: 19
Gill Arches: 3
Vertebrae: 50 (total)

Genus diagnosis after Paxton (1989) for females:

Upper jaw length 30% SL. Predorsal Length 78% SL. Body rather elongated with a huge mouth (third of body length). Snout rounded. Eye tiny. Nasal organ small. Jaws slightly convex to straight on upper but concave on lower. Free gill arches number three without a slit behind last. Gill tooth plates contiguous. Lateral line conspicuous with large round pores inside a channel with raised rim. Pores relatively small; about half of width of tube. No vertical rows of papillae on lateral line. Large dermal flaps present on lateral pores are about twice pore length. Lateral line system continues onto head as a series of pores and sensory openings. Additional pores on lower jaw and snout. Jaw teeth tiny in several irregular, diagonal rows. Vomerine tooth patch round or oval. Dorsal and anal fins located far back on body, with bases slightly elevated. Cavernous tissue located around the anus, anterior anal fin, under first dorsal fin ray, along lateral line flaps, and caudal peduncle. Caudal fin with less than 17 principle rays. Pelvic fin absent. Pectoral fin small and inserted low on body. Body flabby and scaleless except for large, diagnostic scales associated with the lateral line canals.

Males and juveniles unknown.


Uniformly dark brown with lighter fin tips. Mouth brown on the inside.


Maximum size to 105mm SL.


Type material taken at about 1280m, but likely widespread in the bathypelagic zone.


Known only from off Bermuda (Harry, 1952) and the Gulf of Mexico (McEachran & Fechhelm, 1998).


Harry, R.R. 1952. Deep-sea fishes of the Bermuda oceanographic expeditions. Families Cetomimidae and Rondeletiidae. Zoologica, Scientific Contributions of the New York Zoological Society v. 37 (pt 1, no. 5): 55-72, Pl. 1.

Maul, G.E. 1969. On the genus Cetomimus (Cetomimidae) with the description of a new species. Bocagiana. Museu Municipal do Funchal (História Natural) No. 18: 1-12.

McEachran, J.D. & J. D. Fechhelm. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 1: Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. Univ. of Texas Press, Austin. 1-1112.

Paxton, J.R. 1989. Synopsis of the whalefishes (family Cetomimidae) with descriptions of four new genera. Records of the Australian Museum v. 41: 135-206.

Other Notes

The only other species in the genus without a slit behind the third gill arch is Cetomimus craneae, which has much higher and non-overlapping meristics.