Blackfin Sorcerer, Nettastoma melanura Rafinesque 1810

A Blackfin Sorcerer, Nettastoma melanurum, off Lebanon, October 2016. Source: Oceana Europe, Deep-sea Lebanon Expedition, October 2016, © / Flickr. License: All Rights Reserved

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Nettastoma melanura in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024,

Blackfin Sorcerer, Nettastoma melanura Rafinesque 1810

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West of Rottnest Island to NW of Carnarvon, Western Australia. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Atlantic and West Pacific. Inhabits muddy areas mostly on the continental slope, burrowing into the sediment during the day, before emerging to feed at night. 


Considered a benthic scavenger and a sit-and-wait predator, feeding mostly on decapod curstaceans, siphonophores and pyrosomids.


The specific name melanura is from the Greek melanos (= black) and oura (= tail) in reference to the blackish posterior parts of the dorsal and anal fins.

Species Citation

Nettastoma melanura Rafinesque 1810, Caratteri di alcuni nuovi generi e nuove specie di animali e piante della Sicilia: 66, pl.16 (fig.1). Type locality: Sicily, Mediterranean.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Blackfin Sorcerer, Nettastoma melanura Rafinesque 1810


Merrett, N.R. & Saldanha, L. 1985. Aspects of the morphology and ecology of some unusual deep-sea eels (Synaphobranchidae, Derichthyidae and Nettastomatidae) from the eastern North Atlantic. Journal of Fish Biology 27: 719-747.

Porcu, C., Follesa, M. C., Gastoni, A., Mulas, A., Pedoni, C. & Cau, A. 2013. The reproductive cycle of a deep-sea eel, Nettastoma melanurum (Nettastomatidae: Anguilliformes) from the south-eastern Sardinian Sea (central-western Mediterranean). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 93(4): 1105-1115.

Rafinesque, C.S. 1810. Caratteri di alcuni Nouvi Generi e Nouve Specie di Animali e Piante della Sicilia con varie Osservazioni sopra i Medesimi. Palermo 105 pp. 20 pls. See ref at BHL

Smith, D.G. 1989. Family Nettastomatidae. pp. 568-612 in Böhlke, E.B. (ed.) Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Orders Anguilliformes and Saccopharyngiformes. New Haven : The Sears Foundation of Marine Research, Yale University Pt 9 Vol. 1 655 pp.

Smith, D.G., Böhlke, J.E. & Castle, P.H.J. 1981. A revision of the nettastomatid eel genera Nettastoma and Nettenchelys (Pisces : Anguilliformes) with descriptions of six new species. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 94(2): 535-560 figs 1-12 See ref at BHL

Tighe, K. 2015. Nettastoma melanurum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T190431A1951675. Downloaded on 14 May 2017.

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:37065008

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:555-612 m

Habitat:Bathydemersal, Continental slope

Max Size:80 cm TL

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