Bigeye Frostfish, Benthodesmus macrophthalmus Parin & Becker 1970

Illustration of a Bigeye Frostfish, Benthodesmus macrophthalmus. Source: FAO / FishBase. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A silvery frostfish with an almost blackish caudal peduncle, blackish jaws and gill cover, and the inside of the mouth and gill cavities black. The Bigeye Frostfish has a large eye, with pelvic fins inserted under the pectoral fin base, relatively few dorsal-fin spines, a moderate  number of dorsal and anal fin-elements, and external rays developed only in the posterior part of the anal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Benthodesmus macrophthalmus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Dec 2023,

Bigeye Frostfish, Benthodesmus macrophthalmus Parin & Becker 1970

More Info


Northwest Shelf, Western Australia, to the Arafura Sea, Northern Territory. Elsewhere the species has been recorded from Indonesia (Java) and East Timor.


Dorsal fin XXXIV-XXXVII, 78-85; Anal fin II, 70-76; Gill rakers 4 + 1 + 18 = 23; Vertebrate 58-63 + 59-62 = 119-124.

Preanal length 45.0-46.5% SL;    predorsal length11.0-12.2 in SL; snout-vent distance 44.1-44.0)% SL; head length 13.5-14.2% SL; body depth 3.5-4.8% SL; caudal peduncle depth 0.2 % SL; length of spinous dorsal-fin base 29.5-30.)9% SL; lenngth of soft dorsal-fin base 55.2-57.1% SL. Interorbital width 6.2-7.6% HL; Eye diameter 18.5-22.2% HL; snout length 39.9-44.9% SL; maxillary 34.1-38.9% HL; body depth 24.3-35.0% HL; caudal peduncle depth 1.3-1.7% HL. 
Two widely spaced, strong, fixed, and laterally flattened fangs near tip of snout on both sides of upper jaw and, on left side, two smaller depressible fangs (depressible fangs absent or represented by one or two canines near any of fixed ones). A lateral row of 4-8 very small   teeth outside of anterior fangs and 6-10 larger teeth behind them. On lower jaw, a small fixed fang anteriorly and 8-12 lateral teeth behind it. A single series of 5-10 small teeth on palatines. 
Vent located under third soft dorsal ray (under soft dorsal-fin rays 3-5), base of jointed anal spines under soft dorsal-fin rays 5-7.   
Small scale-like pelvic fins inserted under pectoral fin base. External anal-fin rays developed only in posterior half  of anal fin base. Body canal of lateral line wide, its posterior part occupying whole side of caudal peduncle. 

Species Citation

Benthodesmus macrophthalmus Parin & Becker 1970, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 83(33): 356, fig. 2b. Type locality: Arafura Sea [9°01'S, 130°39'E]. 


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Bigeye Frostfish, Benthodesmus macrophthalmus Parin & Becker 1970


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

Nakamura, I. & Parin, N.V. 1993. FAO Species Catalogue. Snake mackerels and cutlassfishes of the world (families Gempylidae and Trichiuridae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the Snake Mackerels, Snoeks, Escolars, Gemfishes, Sackfishes, Domine, Oilfish, Cutlassfishes, Scabbardfishes, Hairtails, and Frostfishes known to date. Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 15. Rome : FAO 136 pp. 200 figs. 

Nakamura, I. & Parin, N.V. 2001. Gempylidae, Trichiuridae. pp. 3698-3720 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. 6 pp. 3381-4218. 

Parin, N.V. & Becker, V.E. 1970. Materials for a revision of the trichiuroid fishes of the genus Benthodesmus, with the description of four new species and one new subspecies. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 83(33): 351-364 figs 1-2 See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37440016

Depth:320-600 m

Habitat:Benthopelagic, continental slope

Max Size:57 cm SL

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