Humpback Blackdevil, Melanocetus johnsonii Günther 1864

Other Names: Common Black Devil, Humpback Anglerfish, Johnson's Blackdevil Anglerfish

Humpback Blackdevil, Melanocetus johnsonii. Source: David Paul. License: All rights reserved

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Melanocetus johnsonii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Jul 2024,

Humpback Blackdevil, Melanocetus johnsonii Günther 1864

More Info


Off Newcastle, New South Wales, to the Great Australian Bight, South Australia, and the Norfolk Ridge, south-west of Norfolk Island. Elsewhere the species is circumglobal at temperate latitudes.


Female Humpback Devilfish have bacterial bioluminescence, with luminous bacteria in the lure or esca producing the light.

Species Citation

Melanocetus johnsonii Günther 1864, Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1864: 301, pl. 25. Type locality Madeira.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Humpback Blackdevil, Melanocetus johnsonii Günther 1864


Anderson, M.E. & Leslie, R.W. 2001. Review of the deep-sea anglerfishes (Lophiiformes: Ceratioidei) of southern Africa. Ichthyological Bulletin of the J.L.B. Smith Institute, Grahamstown 70: 1-32 

Günther, A. 1864. On a new genus of pediculate fish from the sea of Madeira. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1864: 301-303 pl. 25

Hendry, T.A., Freed, L.L., Fader, D., Fenolio, D., Sutton, T.T. & Lopez, J.V. 2018. Ongoing transposon-mediated genome reduction in the luminous bacterial symbionts of deep-sea ceratioid anglerfishes. mBio 9(3): e01033-18. Open access 

Pietsch, T.W. 1999. Families Caulophrynidae, Neoceratiidae, Melanocetidae, Himantolophidae, Diceratiidae, Oneirodidae, Thaumatichthyidae, Centrophrynidae, Ceratiidae, Gigantactinidae, Linophrynidae. pp. 2026-2037 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. 

Pietsch, T.W. 2009. Oceanic Anglerfishes. Extraordinary Diversity in the Deep Sea. Berkeley and Los Angeles : University of California Press pp. i-xii + 1-557. 

Pietsch T.W. 2008. Melanocetidae. pp. 380 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37213001

Biology:Bioluminescent (females)

Depth:100-4500 m

Habitat:Mesopelagic, bathypelagic

Max Size:18 cm TL (females)

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map