Melamphaes ebelingi

Common Name

Ebeling's Bigscale

Year Described

Keene, 1973


Dorsal Fin: III, 14-16
Anal Fin: I, 8
Pectoral Fin: 15
Pelvic Fin: I, 8
Caudal Fin: 9-10 branched, 4 procurrent rays
Lateral Scale Rows: 30-33
Gill Rakers: 19-21
Vertebrae: 26-27

The only W. Atlantic Melamphaes with eight pelvic rays. Head with numerous bony ridges and pits. No post-temporal spines, projecting anterior spines, or raised bony crest on top of head. Preopercle and opercle margins relatively smooth or with weak spination. Gill rakers in first arch relatively numerous (20 or more). Anal fin origin under or slightly behind last dorsal ray. Pectoral fin reaches last ray of dorsal fin. Pelvic fin origin under pectoral fin origin. Body scales large and easily shed. Four scales on gill cover. Spur absent on first haemal arch of caudal vertebrae.


Body uniformly dark to black. Juveniles dark with two distinctive black pigment bands on the caudal peduncle.


Maximum size known to 138mm SL.


Specimens caught in open water from 290-1548m, with juveniles in shallower water and adults staying in the deep end of the range.


Known only from captures around Bermuda but likely more widespread. Found from south of the Azores to off equatorial Africa in the eastern Atlantic so should be expected anywhere in the deep NW Atlantic.


Keene, M. J. 1973. Melamphaes ebelingi, a new species of beryciform fish (Melamphaidae) from the North Atlantic. Copeia 1973 (no. 4): 794-800

Kotlyar, A. N. 2012. Revision of genus Melamphaes (Melamphaidae): Part 4. Multi-raker species: M. ebelingi, M. occlusus sp. nova, and M. nikolayi sp. nova. Journal of Ichthyology v. 52 (no. 4): 247-254