Shortfin Pearleye, Scopelarchus analis (Brauer 1902)

Other Names: Blackbelly Pearleye, Short Fin Pearleye
A pearleye with dark stripes above and below the lateral line, scale margins above lateral line pigmented, pectoral fin pigmented, peritoneum densely black.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Scopelarchus analis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Mar 2023,

Shortfin Pearleye, Scopelarchus analis (Brauer 1902)

More Info


Off central New South Wales, and off Albany, Western Australia. Elsewhere the species is circumglobal in tropical and temperate waters. Larvae and juveniles have been collected in the upper 200 m, while adults usually occur in deeper waters.


Dorsal fin 7-9; Anal fin 21-26; Pectoral fin 18-22; Vertebrae 44-49; Branchiostegal rays 8; Lateral line scales 45-50.
Body moderately short, moderately deep, with moderately deep caudal peduncle. Head length >20% S.L; snout length  greatly exceeding eye diameter; eye lacking rounded lobe of pigment over lens. Pectoral fin reaching to or slightly beyond pelvic-fin origin, but not reaching anal-fin origin.


Pearleyes hunt prey above them in the water column using their dorsally-directed tubular eyes.


Synchronous hermaphrodites with ovotestes containing functional male and female reproductive tissue.


Scopelarchus analis has highly modified eyes that are cylindrical and dorsally-directed, providing binocular vision of objects above. The eye contains multiple retinae - a main retina at the base of the cylinder, an accessory retina along the nasal wall, and a retinal diverticulum separating the two. The main retina enables the formation of a focused image, while the accessory retina provides gross light perception.

Species Citation

Dissomma anale Brauer 1902, Zoologischer Anzeiger 25(668): 278. Type locality:  equatorial Atlantic [00°26´N, 6°32´W. 


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Shortfin Pearleye, Scopelarchus analis (Brauer 1902)


Bannermann, P., Nunoo, F., Poss, S. & Russell, B. 2015. Scopelarchus analis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T190316A15603060. Downloaded on 27 June 2020.

Brauer, A. 1902. Diagnosen von neuen Tiefseefischen, welche von der Valdivia-Expedition gesammelt sind. Zoologischer Anzeiger 25(668): 277-298 See ref at BHL

Davis, M.P. 2015. Evolutionary Relationships of the deep-sea pearleyes (Aulopiformes: Scopelarchidae) and a new genus of pearleye from Antarctic waters. Copeia 2015(1): 64-71.

Johnson, R.K. 1974. A revision of the alepisauroid family Scopelarchidae (Pisces : Myctophiformes). Fieldiana Zoology 66: 1-249 figs 1-60 See ref at BHL

Johnson, R.K. 1982. Fishes of the families Evermannellidae and Scopelarchidae: systematics, morphology, interrelationships and zoogeography. Fieldiana Zoology ns 12: 1-252 figs 1-74 

Locket, N.A. 1971. Retinal anatomy in some scopelarchid deep-sea fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society (B) Biological Sciences 178: 161–184

Partridge, J.C., Archer, S.N. & van Oostrum, J. 1992. Single and multiple visual pigments in deep-sea fishes. J. Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 72: 113 -130.

Pointer, M.A., Carvalho, L.S., Cowing, J.A., Bowmaker, J.K. & Hunt, D.M. 2007. The visual pigments of a deep-sea teleost, the pearl eye Scopelarchus analis. Journal of Experimental Biology 210: 2829-2835; doi: 10.1242/jeb.006064

Stewart, A.L. 2015. Family Scopelarchidae. pp. 566-574 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 2 pp. 1-576.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37131004


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-1500 m

Habitat:Mesopelagic, bathypelagic

Max Size:13 cm SL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map