Family MELAMPHAIDAE


Common name: Bigscales, Crustheads, Ridgeheads

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Summary:
Small deep-sea fishes, usually with large, cycloid scales that are easily lost (deciduous), a large blunt head with prominent bony ridges and cavernous areas, and thoracic or subthoracic pelvic fins.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Bigscales, MELAMPHAIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Aug 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/family/55

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Family Taxonomy

The family comprises 5 genera and 55 described species; all genera and 8 described species are recorded from Australian waters.

Family Distribution

Found worldwide at meso- to bathypelagic depths in all oceans except the Arctic and the Mediterranean Sea.

Family Description

Small deep-sea fishes usually with large, cycloid scales that are easily lost (deciduous), a large blunt head with prominent bony ridges and cavernous areas and thoracic or subthoracic pelvic fins. Jaw teeth very small, in single rows or bands; dorsal fin single, positioned centrally on back; lateral line absent or reduced to 1–2 pored scales behind upper edge of operculum.

Dorsal fin with 1-3 weak spines. Pelvic fin with 1 spine, 6-8 soft rays. Caudal fin 3-4 procurrent spines. Cycloid scales often large and deciduous. Lateral line absent, or limited to one or two pored scales. Vertebrae 24-31. The skin is very delicate and is usually damaged during capture.

Family Size

Maximum length is about 16 cm.

Author

Dianne J. Bray

References


Bray, D.J. 2008. Melamphaidae, In Gomon, M.F., D.J. Bray & R.H. Kuiter. Fishes of Australia’s southern coast. New Holland Press and Museum Victoria.

Ebeling, A.W. 1962. Melamphaidae I. Systematics and zoogeography of the species in the bathypelagic fish genus Melamphaes Günther. Dana Rept. 58: 1–164, figs. 1–73.

Ebeling, A.W. 1975. A new Indo-Pacific bathypelagic-fish species of Poromitra and a key to the genus. Copeia (2): 306-315.

Ebeling, A.W. 1986. Melamphaidae. p. 427-432. In Smith, M.M. & P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes.

Ebeling, A.W. & Weed, W.H. 1963. Melamphaidae III. Systematics and distribution of the species in the bathypelagic fish genus Scopelogadus Vaillant. Dana Rept. 60: 1–58, figs. 1–23.

Ebeling, A.W. & Weed, W.H. 1973. Order Xenoberyces (Stephanoberyciformes) in Cohen, D.M. (ed.) Fishes of the western North Atlantic. Mem. Sears Fndn. Mar. Res. 1(6): 397–477, figs. 1–37.

Gon, O. 1990. Melamphaidae. p. 218-221. In O. Gon and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Fishes of the Southern Ocean. J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Grahamstown, South Africa.

Kotlyar, A.N. 1996. Beryciform fishes of the world ocean. Moscow : VNIRO Publishing, pp. 1–368.

Kotlyar, A.N., 2004 Family Melamphaidae Gill 1893, bigscales. Calif. Acad. Sci. Annotated Checklists of Fishes (29): 11.

Kotlyar, A.N., 2004 Revision of the genus Scopeloberyx (Melamphaidae). Part 1. Multirakered species of the group S. robustus. J. Ichthyol. 44(8): 537-554.

Kotlyar, A.N., 2004 Revision of the genus Scopeloberyx (Melamphaidae). Part 2. Oligorakered species of the group S. robustus. J. Ichthyol. 44(9): 677-689.

Kotlyar, A.N., 2005 Revision of the genus Scopeloberyx (Melamphaidae). Part 3: Species of the group S. opisthopterus. J. Ichthyol. 45(1): 16-27.

Kotlyar, A.N. 2008. Revision of the genus Poromitra (Melamphaidae): Part 1. Species of group P. crassiceps. Journal of Ichthyology 48(7): 479-492.

Kotlyar, A.N. 2008. Revision of the genus Poromitra (Melamphaeidae): Part 2. New species of the group P. crassiceps. Journal of Ichthyology 48(8): 553-564.

Kotlyar, A.N. 2009. Revision of the genus Poromitra (Melamphaidae): Part 3. Species of group P. cristiceps, P. nigrofulva, P. frontosa, P. nigriceps. Journal of Ichthyology 49(6): 421-434.

Kotlyar, A.N. 2009. Revision of the genus Poromitra (Melamphaidae). Part 4. Species of P. cristiceps group: P. atlantica, P. oscitans and P. agofonovae Kotlyar, species nova. Journal of Ichthyology 49(8): 563-574.

Kotlyar, A.N. 2009. Revision of the genus Poromitra (Melamphaidae): Part 5. Species of groups P. capito and P. crassa. Journal of Ichthyology 49(10): 710-722.

Maul, G.E. 1986. Melamphaidae. p. 756-765. In P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese (eds.) Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 2.

Moss, S.A. (1962). Melamphaidae II. A new melamphaid genus, Sio, with redescription of Sio nordenskjöldii (Lönnberg). Dana Rept. 56: 1–10, figs. 1–4.

Paxton, J.R., J. Hanley, D.J. Bray & D.F. Hoese. 2006. Melamphaidae. In Hoese, D.F., D.J. Bray, G.R. Allen, J.R. Paxton, P.L. Beesley & A. Wells. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. Fishes. CSIRO Publishing & ABRS, 3 vols.

Sandknop, E.M. & W. Watson. 1996. Melamphaidae: bigscales. p. 692-711. In H.G. Moser (ed.) The early stages of fishes in the California Current region. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Atlas No. 33. 1505 p.