Deepwater Shore-Eel, Alabes bathys Hutchins 2006

Holotype of the Deepwater Shore-Eel, Alabes bathys, NMV A 14558, 39 mm SL, from off Cape Sorell, Tasmania. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A small pale brownish or greenish shore eel, becoming more translucent posteriorly, with almost totally transparent fins, and a series of white spots along the sides that continue onto the dorsal fin as short vertical bars. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Alabes bathys in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 May 2024,

Deepwater Shore-Eel, Alabes bathys Hutchins 2006

More Info


Endemic to southern Australia, from Central Bass Strait to off Cape Otway, Victoria, and south to off western Tasmania. Depth range 74-348 metres.


Caudal fin 7-8; Pelvic fin 2?; Vertebrae (total) 69?
Body very elongate, moderately compressed; head very short; eyes small; mouth small; gill opening a small slit on underside of head; single sensory pore dorso-posterior to eye; dorsal, anal and caudal fins continuous, dorsal and anal elongate, without fin rays; pelvic fins rudimentary, positioned immediately behind gill opening, width less than length of gill slit.


Head and body pale brown, abdominal region more pinkish ventrally; body becoming more translucent posteriorly, vertical fins almost totally transparent; middle of side with longitudinal series of whitish spots from head almost to caudal fin, each spot about equal or subequal to eye diameter; dorsal surface with longitudinal series of similarly coloured short cross-bands, continued onto dorsal-fin fold as vertical bars; a few pale spots on anal-fin fold. Larger paratype differs in its ground colour, being a more pale greyish green.


This species has been collected by dredge from deep coastal waters at depths to 348 m.

Similar Species

Alabes bathys differs from all other species in the genus Alabes in having a moderately large gill opening, a smaller pelvic-fin rudiment consisting of 2 apparent fin rays in each half, 4 cephalic pores: 1 preocular pore (POP), 1 anterior nasal pore (ANP), 2 lachrymal pores (LP) in the lateral line system, and in its unique colour pattern.


The specific name is from the Greek bathys (= deep) in reference to the deep water habitat of this species.

Species Citation

Alabes bathys Hutchins 2006, Mem. Mus. Vic. 63(1): 26, figs 1a, 1b. Type locality: 30 km NNW of Cape Sorell, Tasmania (42°10.9'S, 144°48.9'E), depth 160 m.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Deepwater Shore-Eel, Alabes bathys Hutchins 2006


Hutchins, B. 2006. Description of two new species of shore-eels (Gobiesocidae: Cheilobranchinae: Alabes) from south-eastern Australia and Norfolk Island. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 63(1): 25-28, 

Hutchins, J.B. 2008. Family Gobiesocidae. pp. 722-741 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37206036

Depth:74-348 metres

Max Size:3.9 cm SL; 4.2 cm TL


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