Snubnose Blacksmelt, Bathylagoides wesethi
The Snubnose Blacksmelt, Bathylagoides wesethi, whose common Spanish name is desaire nariz capellane mesopelágico, is a species in the family Bathylagidae, the Deep-sea Smelts, known as capellanes mesopelágicos in Mexico. Globally, there are twenty two species in the Bregmacerotidae Family placed in eight genera. There are two members of the Bathylagoides Genus found in Mexican waters of the Pacific.
The Snubnose Blacksmelt has a slender compressed elongated body that is widest slightly behind the pectoral fin base that tapers toward to the caudal fin. They are silvery in color being dark brown dorsally with black spots with a black area around the gill openings. Their fins are translucent. The head has disproportionally large eyes that are twice the length of the rounded snout, and a small terminal oblique mouth with a gill opening that reaches halfway up the side of the body. The anal fin has thirteen to seventeen rays, the caudal fin is very short with a very narrow base, the dorsal fin is set well behind the mid-point of the body and has ten to fourteen rays, the pectoral fin are short and set low on the body and do not reach the dorsal fin origin. They have 24 to 26 gill rakers. The lateral line is high on the body and extends into the caudal fin. The body is covered with scales.
The Snubnose Blacksmelt is an oceanic mesopelagic species that reside in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans that are found between 80 feet and perhaps as deep at 14,000 feet. Adults are vertical migrators moving toward the surface at night to feed on small crustaceans and return to the depths during the day for protection from predation. In turn they provide a valuable food source for all sorts of fishes, birds, sea lions, dolphins, and of course the Humboldt Squid. They reach a maximum length of 13.5 cm (5.3 inches). Reproduction is oviparous with planktonic eggs and larvae. In Mexican waters the Snubnose Blacksmelt are found only along the entire West Coast of Baja. They are an uncommon species that are seldom seen by humans and are poorly studied species with very little is known about their behavioral patterns.
The Snubnose Blacksmelt is a difficult fish to identify that requires help from a professional ichthyologist for a correct identification. Due to their small stature and rarity they are of little interest to most.