Cosmopolitan Spineback, Notacanthus chemnitzii Bloch 1788

Other Names: Snubnosed Spiny Eel, Snub-nosed Spiny Eel

Cosmopolitan Spineback, Notacanthus chemnitzii, MCZ 158608. Source: Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A pale tan to pale bluish grey, or dark brown spiny eel with two or more complete rows of palatine and dentary teeth, and 9-12 unconnected short, sharp dorsal-fin spines.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Notacanthus chemnitzii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Feb 2023,

Cosmopolitan Spineback, Notacanthus chemnitzii Bloch 1788

More Info


Off Tasmania and off  Dampier, Western Australlia. Elsewhere, the species occurs worldwide except in tropical waters.


Dorsal fin VI-XV, 2; Anal fin XIV-XVII, 125-145; Vertebrae 225-239. 
Greatest body depth less than 3 in preanal length; palatine and dentary teeth present in two or more rows. Numerous dorsal-fin spines.


Reportedly feeds mostly on sea anemones.

Species Citation

Notacanthus chemnitzii Bloch 1788, Abhandlungen der Böhmischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, Prague 3: 278, pl. 1. Type locality: Arctic Ocean (Greenland)


Dianne J. Bray

Cosmopolitan Spineback, Notacanthus chemnitzii Bloch 1788


Bloch, M.E. 1788. Ueber zwey merwürdige Fischarten (Notacanthus chemnitzii und Silurus militaris). Abhandlungen der Böhmischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, Prague 3: 278-282 2 pls.

Moser, H.G. & S.R. Charter, 1996. Notacanthidae: spinyeels. pp. 82-85. In H.G. Moser (ed.) The early stages of fishes in the California Current Region. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Atlas No. 33. 1505 pp.

Paepke, H.J. 1999. Bloch's fish collection in the Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt University zu Berlin: an illustrated catalog and historical account. Theses Zoologicae 32: 1-216.

Shinohara, G., H. Endo & K. Matsuura. 1996. Deep-water fishes collected from the Pacific Coast of Northern Honshu, Japan. Mem. Natn. Sci. Mus., Tokyo (29): 153-185.

Sulak, K.J., 1986. Notacanthidae. p. 599-603. In P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen & E. Tortonese (eds) Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. UNESCO, Paris. vol. 2.

Sulak, K.J., 1990. Notacanthidae. pp. 133-135. In J.C. Quero, J.C. Hureau, C. Karrer, A. Post & L. Saldanha (eds) Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic (CLOFETA). JNICT, Lisbon; SEI, Paris; and UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 1.

Quick Facts

Depth:125-3285 m

Max Size:120 cm TL

Max Size:Benthopelagic

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