Snubnose Blacksmelt
Pez de Plata
(Bathylagus wesethi)

Snubnose Blacksmelt, Bathylagus wesethi: The Snubnose Blacksmelt have very small pectoral fins that originate close to the ventral surface of the body. They have slender bodies that are widest slightly behind the pectoral fin base and narrow toward the very short and narrow tail base and are dark brown above and the sides are silvery with black spots with pale fins.

They have 12 or 13 dorsal rays, 14 to 16 anal rays, 10 or 11 pectoral rays, 9 to 11 pelvic rays and 24 or 25 26 gill rakers.

The pectoral fins of the Snubnose Blacksmelt are short and fall far short of the dorsal fin which is well back in the body.

Keys to identification of the Snubnose Blacksmelt include a rounded snout that is less than the diameter of the eye, gill openings that reach halfway up the side of the body, and an anal fin base that is longer than the caudal fin peduncle.

This an uncommon, seldom seen by humans, bathypelagic fish species that in Mexican waters are found along the west coast of Baja south to Guerrero Negro from near the surface to 3,300 feet in the water column. They vertically migrate during the night toward the surface to feed.

They reach a maximum length of 11 cm (4.3 inches).

They are oviparous with planktonic eggs and larvae.

Adults feed on small crustaceans and in turn provide a valuable food source for all sorts of fishes, birds, sea lions, dolphins, and of course the Humboldt Squid.

The Snubnose Blacksmelt is a member of the Bathylagidae Family of Deepsea Smelts which are known in Mexico as Capellanes Mesopel√°gicos. Globally there are 23 species from 5 genera of Deepsea Smelts.

 Snubnose Blacksmelt picture

Snubnose Blacksmelt, Bathylagus wesethi: Fish collected by H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif., in a deep water trawl net off Point Loma, Calif., in August 2010. Length 6.5 cm (2.6 inches). Description courtesy of John Snow.

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