Xyelacyba myersi

Common Name

Gargoyle Cusk-eel

Year Described

Cohen, 1961


Dorsal Fin: 87-89
Anal Fin: 71-74
Pelvic Fin: 2
Pectoral Fin: 19
Caudal Fin: 9
Gill Rakers: 4-5 upper limb, 1 corner raker, and 15-17 lower limb + 4 rudimentary rakers
Branchiostegal Rays: 8-9
Vertebrae: 49 total

Body stout and robust, with a relatively huge head (one-fourth TL). Body gradually tapers posteriorly to a pointed tip. Snout large and rounded. No spines on snout. Eye small. Mouth subterminal. Jaw extends well past posterior margin of orbit. Tiny teeth present in jaws, on palatine, and on vomer. Three basibranchial tooth patches. A strong spine on upper opercle and three strong spines on preopercular margin (upper largest). Dorsal and anal fins confluent with caudal fin. Caudal fin small. Pectoral fin moderate and rounded. Pelvic fin rays fairly short, on throat, and close together. Scales small and deciduous. Lateral line not obvious.


Body and head translucent whitish, becoming dark gray to blackish rearward. Median fins, maxilla, lower jaw, opercle, gut, and pectoral fins a strong contrasting blackish.


Maximum size to 57cm TL.


Found near the bottom on continental slopes and abyssal plains from 984-2500m.


Known from off the northeastern U.S., the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, off Colombia, and off Brazil. Likely found throughout the area in deep water.


Cohen, D. M. 1961. A new genus and species of deepwater ophidioid fish from the Gulf of Mexico. Copeia 1961 (no. 3): 288-292.

Garrido-Linares, M., & A. Acero, A. 2006. Peces Ophidiiformes del Atlántico occidental tropical con especial énfasis en el mar Caribe colombiano. Biota Colombiana, 7(2), 283-299.

Haedrich, R. L., & P. T. Polloni. 1974. Rarely seen fishes captured in Hudson Submarine Canyon. Journal of the Fisheries Board of Canada, 31(2), 231-234.

McEachran, J.D. & 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., J. G. Nielsen & P. A. S. Costa, 2008. Deep-sea ophidiiform fishes collected on the Brazilian continental slope, between 11° and 23°S. Zootaxa 1770:41-64.