Bluntsnout Slickhead, Xenodermichthys copei (Gill 1884)

Other Names: Black Slickhead, Bluntsnout Smooth-head, Cope's Bluntsnout Slickhead

Bluntsnout Slickhead, Xenodermichthys copei. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A bluish-black slickhead covered in many large, nodular photophores on the head and body, with a slightly paler head, a broadly rounded snout, a very large eye, and short jaws that do not extend beyond the middle of the eye.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Xenodermichthys copei in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Dec 2022,

Bluntsnout Slickhead, Xenodermichthys copei (Gill 1884)

More Info


Off Newcastle, New South Wales, around southern Australia to NW of Port Hedland, Western Australia; also Norfolk Ridge just outside Australian EEZ, and probably north into the Coral Sea on the east coast. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Atlantic Indo-west-central Pacific (New Caledonia).


Dorsal fin 29–31; Anal fin 28–29; Pectoral fin 7–8; Pelvic fin 6; Gill rakers 7–9 + 20–22 = 28–32.
Head short, length 23–24% SL; eye large, diameter 30–31% HL; jaw to mid-line of eye; head and body covered in many large, nodular photophores on the head and body; luminous tissue along bases of dorsal and anal fins.


Feeds mostly on crustaceans (euphausiids, copepods, amphipods, and decapod zoea), but also ostracods, and small cephalopods.

Species Citation

Aleposomus copei Gill 1884, American Naturalist 18: 433. Type locality: North Atlantic,  37°12´N, 69°39´W, depth 2949 fathoms.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Bluntsnout Slickhead, Xenodermichthys copei (Gill 1884)


Badcock, J. & Larcombe, R.A. 1980. The sequence of photophore development in Xenodermichthys copei (Pisces: Alepocehalidae). Journal of Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 60(02): 277-294.

Nielsen, J., Knudsen, S. & Uiblein, F. 2015. Xenodermichthys copei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T15149335A44738200. Downloaded on 05 September 2017.

Sazonov, Y.I. & Ivanov, A.N. 1980. Slickheads (Alepocephalidae and Leptochilichthyidae) from thalassobathyal zone of the Indian Ocean. Trudy Instituta Okeanologii. Akademiya Nauk SSSR. Moskva 110: 7-104 figs 1-25 [in Russian]

Sazonov, Y.I. & Markle, D.F. 1999. Family Alepocephalidae. pp. 1888-1893 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. 

Sazonov, Y.I. & Williams, A. 2001. A review of the alepocephalid fishes (Argentiniformes, Alepocephalidae) from the continental slope of Australia: Part I. Journal of Ichthyology 41(suppl. 1): 1-36 

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 

Williams, A. & Sazonov, Y.I. 2008. Family Alepocephalidae and Platytroctidae. pp. 201-210 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Williams, A. & Stewart, A.L. 2015. Family Alepocephalidae. pp. 354-376 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:37114002


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:100-2650 m

Habitat:Benthopelagic, continental slope

Max Size:31 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map