Spotted Ribbonfish, Desmodema polystictum (Ogilby 1898)

Other Names: Dealfish, Polkadot Ribbonfish, Polka-dot Ribbonfish

A Spotted Ribbonfish, Desmodema polystictum, from off Pakistan, 2010. Source: H.B. Osmany / FishBase. License: CC BY Attribution-NonCommercial

A rare mesopelagic ribbonfish relative. Small juveniles are silvery with numerous black spots and reddish fins. They resemble jellyfishes, and swim in near surface waters trailing their elongate red dorsal and pelvic fin rays. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Desmodema polystictum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jun 2024,

Spotted Ribbonfish, Desmodema polystictum (Ogilby 1898)

More Info


Nelson Bay, New South Wales, to South West Cape, Tasmania. Elsewhere, the species is circumglobal in tropical and temperate mesopelagic waters.


Carnivore - feeds on small pelagic fishes and invertebrates such as squids, octopus, and crustaceans.

Species Citation

Trachypterus jacksoniensis polystictus Ogilby 1898, Proc. Linn. Soc. N. S. W. 22(3): 649. Type locality: near Newcastle, NSW.


Bray, D.J. 2021

Spotted Ribbonfish, Desmodema polystictum (Ogilby 1898)


Fitch, J.E. & Lavenberg, R.J. 1968. Deep-water teleostean fishes of California. California Natural History Guides: 25. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California. 115 pp.

Martin, J.M. & Hilton, E.A. 2021. A taxonomic review of the family Trachipteridae (Acanthomorpha: Lampridiformes), with an emphasis on taxa distributed in the western Pacific Ocean. Zootaxa 5039(3): 301–351

Olney, J.E. 1999. Families Veliferidae, Lamprididae, Stylephoridae, Lophotidae, Radiicephalidae, Trachipteridae, Regalecidae. pp. 1966-1975 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Scott, E.O.G. 1983. Observations on some Tasmanian fishes. Part 29. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 117: 167-202 figs 1-6 pls 1-3

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 2015. Desmodema polystictum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T190073A21909640. Downloaded on 09 December 2016.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37271002

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-500 m

Habitat:Epipelagic, mesopelagic

Max Size:110 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map