Black Spinyfin, Diretmichthys parini (Post & Quéro 1981)

Other Names: Black Discfish, Parin's Spinyfish

A Black Spinyfin, Diretmichthys parini, taken in a midwater trawl east of Kiama, New South Wales. Source: Ken Graham / NSW Fisheries. License: All rights reserved

A large dark brown to bluish-black spinyfin with an oval-shaped body, a row of scutes between the bases of the pelvic and anal fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Diretmichthys parini in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Feb 2024,

Black Spinyfin, Diretmichthys parini (Post & Quéro 1981)

More Info


Recorded around Australia from off Gladstone, Queensland, southwards to the Arafura Sea, Northern Territory; also in the Lord Howe and Norfolk Island provinces in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, found worldwide in tropical and temperate mesopelagic and bathypelagic waters (except northeast Pacific) in 200-2100 m.

Juveniles are mesopelagic, whereas the adults are bathypelagic to benthopelagic.


Dorsal fin 26-30; Anal fin 20-23; Caudal fin 19; Pectoral fin 17-20; Pelvic fin I, 6; Gill rakers 16-20; Vertebrae 29-31.

Body moderately deep (43-63% SL), compressed, more or less oval in shape; caudal peduncle deep; anus about midway between ventral-fin and anal fin origins. Head moderately large (35-41% SL), with prominent bony ridges and deep mucous cavities; eyes large; mouth large, oblique, extending to below rear half of eye; tip of lower jaw with a blunt, angled bony point; jaws with a narrow band of small sharp, fine teeth. 

Scales coarsely ctenoid, covering body including nape and cheeks on head; abdominal surface between origins of pelvic fins and anal fin with ridge of bony scutes; no scutes in front of pelvic fins; lateral line absent.

Single dorsal fin, moderately long-based, low, extending over rear half of body; anal fin opposite, similar to dorsal fin but with shorter base; each dorsal and anal fin ray with large laterally projecting spine on either side near base, series of smaller spines further up; caudal fin large, forked, each ray with series of small laterally projecting spines on either side. Pectoral fins angular, moderately large, rays with smaller spines on outer surfaces. Pelvic fins thoracic, angular, moderately large; pelvic “spine” with numerous small laterally projecting spines on outside edge, rays with smaller spines ventrally.


To 37 cm SL, 40 cm TL.


Body dark brown to dark bluish-black; fins brown with black bases.


Carnivore - feeds on pelagic crustaceans and other zooplankton.


The sexes are separate and fertilization is external; eggs and larvae are pelagic.


Of no importance to fisheries, although occasionally taken as bycatch in commercial trawls. Reportedly good eating.



Similar Species

Differs from Diretmus argenteus, the other spinyfin found in Australian waters, in having the anus midway between the bases of the anal and pelvic fins (vs. anus immediately before the anal-fin origin), and in lacking a ridge of bony scutes before the pelvic-fin bases.


Diretmichthys is from the Greek, di meaning 'two', eretmos meaning 'oar' and ichthys meaning 'fish'. The species is named parini for Dr Nikolai V. Parin.

Species Citation

Diretmoides parini Post & Quéro 1981 Cybium (3)5(1): 49–56, figs 96, 10a–h & 11, 23°47’N, 20°59’W. Type locality: North Atlantic.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Black Spinyfin, Diretmichthys parini (Post & Quéro 1981)


Bray, D.J. 2008. Family Diretmidae; Spinyfins. pp. 431-432 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Glover, C.J.M. 1994. Families Diretmidae, Melamphaeidae. pp. 412-416 figs 370-372 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. (as Diretmoides parini)

Iwamoto, T. 2015. Diretmichthys parini. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T190137A21910485. Downloaded on 24 April 2018.

Konishi, Y. 1999. Developmental and comparative morphology of beryciform larvae. (Teleostei: Acanthomorpha), with comments on trachichthyoid relationships. Bull. Sekai Natl Fish. Res. Inst. 77: 23-92.

Kotlyar, A.N. 1988. Classification and distribution of fishes of the family Diretmidae (Beryciformes).  Journal of Ichthyology 28(2): 1-15. (as Diretmoides parini)

Kotlyar, A.N. 1990. Diretmichthys, a new genus of Diretmidae (Beryciformes). Journal of Ichthyology 30(2): 153-162.

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

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 (as Diretmoides parini)

Okiyama, M. 1993. An atlas of the early stage fishes in Japan. Koeltz Scientific Books, Germany. 1154 pp.

Paulin, C., A. Stewart, C. Roberts & P. McMillan. 1989. New Zealand fish: a complete guide. National Museum of New Zealand Miscellaneous Series No. 19. 279 pp. (as Diretmoides parini)

Paxton, J.R. 1999. Families Gibberichthyidae, Rondeletiidae, Barbourisiidae, Cetomimidae, Mirapinnidae, Megalomycteridae, Anoplogastridae, Diretmidae. pp. 2203-2211 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 2069-2790 pp.

Post, A., 1986. Diretmidae. p. 743-746. In P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen & E. Tortonese (eds.) Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 2. (as Diretmoides parini)

Post, A. & Quéro, J.C. 1981. Revision des Diretmidae (Pisces, Trachichthyoidei) de l'Atlantique avec description d'un noveau genre et d'une nouvelle espèce. Cybium 3 5(1): 33-60 figs 1-11 (as Diretmoides parini)

Roberts, C.D. 2015. Families Anoplogastridae, Diretmidae and Monocentridae. pp. 1002-1008, in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152.

Russell, B.C. & W. Houston. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle 6(1): 69-84. (as Diretmoides parini)

Williams, A., Last, P.R., Gomon, M.F. & Paxton, J.R. 1996. Species composition and checklist of the demersal ichthyofauna of the continental slope off Western Australia (20–35º). Records of the Western Australian Museum 18: 135-155

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37254001

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:200-2100 m

Habitat:Mesopelagic, bathypelagic

Max Size:To 37 cm SL, 40 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map