Vityaz Frostfish, Benthodesmus vityazi Parin & Becker 1970

Other Names: Vityaz' Frostfish

Illustration of Vityaz Frostfish, Benthodesmus vityazi. Source: FAO / FishBase. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A silvery frostfish with blackish jaws and gill cover, and the inside of the mouth and gill cavities black. The pelvic fins are inserted behind the posterior end of the pectoral-fin base, relatively low (for species with the posterior position of pelvic fins) number of vertebrae, dorsal and anal fin-elements, the anus located under the 2nd or 3rd soft dorsal-fin ray, and external rays developed only in the posterior part of the anal fin. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Benthodesmus vityazi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Dec 2023,

Vityaz Frostfish, Benthodesmus vityazi Parin & Becker 1970

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Northwest Shelf, Western Australia. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.


Dorsal fin LXI-LXIV, 88-93; Anal fin II, 80-85; Pectoral fin 12-13; Gill rakers 3 + 1 +6 = 10; Vertebrae 137-142. 
Preanal length 41.5% SL, predorsal length 11.0-11.7% SL, snout-vent length 39.9-40.0% SL, head length 13.2-13.5% SL, body depth 3.1-3.4% SL, caudal peduncle depth 0.2% SL, length of spinous dorsal-fin base 28.1 (26.7-28.1% SL, length of soft dorsal-fin base 55.8-57.0% SL. Interobital width 4.5-4.6% HL, eye diameter 15.4-18.0% HL, snout length 41.5% HL, maxillary 29.4-30.5% HL, body depth 23.1-25.2% HL, caudal peduncle  depth 1.5-1.7% HL. 
Vent located under interspace between second and third soft dorsal-fin ray, base of jointed anal-fin spines under 6th-7th soft dorsal-fin rays. Pelvic fins inserted conspicuously behind posterior end of pectoral fin base. Second anal-fin spine flattened and sharpened. External anal-fin rays developed only in posterior half of anal-fin base (fin rays in anterior portion of fin before somewhat stronger rays in posterior half).
Two widely spaced fixed fangs flattened laterally near tip of snout on both sides of upper jaw. A lateral row of 6-8 very small teeth between symphysis of jaw and anterior fang, series of 8-9 small teeth outside of fangs and about 10 larger teeth behind them. On lower jaw, a small fixed fang anteriorly and about 14 lateral teeth behind it. A single series of 13 teeth on palatines. 


Adults are benthopelagic, while juveniles are mesopelagic below 170 m.

Similar Species

B. vitiazi differs most noticeably from B. tuckeri in the position of pelvic fins. This feature, as well as the external structure of the anal fin, indicates the closer relationship to B. elongatus than other members of the genus. 

Species Citation

Benthodesmus vityazi Parin & Becker 1970, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 83(33): 360, fig. 2d. Type locality: Equatorial Central Pacific [0°04'N, 154°05'W], depth 0-440 m.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Vityaz Frostfish, Benthodesmus vityazi Parin & Becker 1970


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 Washington83(33): 351-364 figs 1-2 See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37440008

Depth:640-820m (juvs shallower)

Habitat:Mesopelagic, benthopelagic

Max Size:77 cm SL

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