Melamphaes typhlops

Common Name

Brown Bigscale

Year Described

Lowe, 1843


Dorsal Fin: III, 14-15
Anal Fin: I, 8
Pectoral Fin: 14-16
Pelvic Fin: I, 7
Caudal Fin: 9-10 branched, 4 procurrent rays
Lateral Scale Rows: 29-32
Gill Rakers: 14-16
Vertebrae: 25-27

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 few (19 or less). Anal fin origin behind last ray of dorsal fin. Pectoral fin reaches last ray of dorsal fin. Pelvic fin origin slightly behind pectoral fin origin. Body scales large and easily shed. Two cheek scales.


Body uniformly dark brown to black.


Maximum size to 100mm SL


Adults are mesopelagic between 500-1600m. Juveniles are caught up to the surface at night.


Known from the northwestern Atlantic (Grand Banks, northeastern U.S., Bermuda, Lesser Antilles, and the Gulf of Mexico) and off Brazil (Mincarone et al., 2014).


Ebeling, A. W. and W. H. Weed, III. 1973. Order Xenoberyces (Stephanoberyciformes). In: Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Memoirs of the Sears Foundation of Marine Research Mem. 1 (pt 6): 397-478.

McEachran, J.D. and J.D. Fechhelm. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 1: Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin. i-viii + 1-1112.

Mincarone, M. M., F. Di Dario and P. A. S. Costa. 2014. Deep-sea bigscales, pricklefishes, gibberfishes and whalefishes (Teleostei: Stephanoberycoidei) off Brazil: new records, range extensions for the south-western Atlantic Ocean and remarks on the taxonomy of Poromitra. Journal of Fish Biology v. 85: 1546-1570.

Moore, J. A., K. E. Hartel, J. E. Craddock, and J. K. Galbraith. 2003. An annotated list of deepwater fishes from off the New England region, with new area records. Northeastern Naturalist 10(2): 159-248.

Other Notes

Melamphaes pumilus, M. simus, and M. typhlops are distinguished by their very low gill raker counts compared to the other oligo-rakered species in the region. Melamphaes pumilus has an intermediate dorsal, vertebral, and gill raker count in between M. simus (high end) and M. typhlops (low end).