Limp Eelpout, Melanostigma gelatinosum Günther 1881

Other Names: Limp Eel Pout

A Limp Eelpout, Melanostigma gelatinosum. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC Attribution-Non Commercial 3.0

A pale off-white to pinkish-grey eelpout with thin gelatinous translucent skin, and a blackish head and caudal fin tip.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Melanostigma gelatinosum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Jun 2024,

Limp Eelpout, Melanostigma gelatinosum Günther 1881

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Off Tasmania. Elsewhere the species is circumglobal polar regions of the Southern Ocean.


Dorsal fin 77-90; Anal fin 63-75; Pectoral fin 7-9; Caudal fin 8-10; Vertebrae 19-23 + 62-74 = 82-94.

Body elongate, gelatinous; gill opening a small pore; preoperculo-mandibular pores 5; first postorbital pore behind eye; lateral line absent.


Although the Limp Eelpout is mesopelagic, it lays and guards the eggs in a burrow on the seafloor.

Species Citation

Melanostigma gelatinosum Günther 1881, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1881: 21, pl. 2(A). Type locality: Tilly Bay, Straits of Magellan, Chile, 24 fathoms.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Limp Eelpout, Melanostigma gelatinosum Günther 1881


Anderson, M.E. 1986. Order Zoarciformes. pp. 342-343 in Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds) Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 pls. 

Anderson, M.E. 1988. Studies on the Zoarcidae (Teleostei: Perciformes) of the southern hemisphere. I. The Antarctic and subantarctic regions. Antarctic Research Series 47: 59–113.

Anderson, M.E. 1994. Systematics and osteology of the Zoarcidae (Teleostei: Perciformes). Ichthyological Bulletin of the J.L.B. Smith Institute, Grahamstown 60: 1-120.

Anderson, M.E. 1990. Zoarcidae. pp. 256-276. In: Gon, O. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds) 1990. Fishes of the Southern Ocean. Grahamstown : J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology 462 pp. 

Günther, A. 1881. Account of the zoological collections made during the survey of H.M.S. Alert in the Straits of Magellan and on the coast of Patagonia. III. Reptiles, batrachians and fishes. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1881: 18-22 pls 1-2

Miller, R.G. 1993. History and atlas of the fishes of the Antarctic Ocean. Foresta Institute for Ocean and Mountain Studies. Carson City, Nevada. i-xx + 1-792.

Møller, P.R. & Anderson, M.E. 2015. 204 Family Zoarcidae (pp. 1424-1432). In: Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds) The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748.

Silverberg, N., Edenborn, H.M., Ouellet, G. & Béland, P. 1987. Direct evidence of a mesopelagic fish, Melanostigma atlanticum (Zoarcidae) spawning within bottom sediments. Environmental Biology of Fishes 20(3): 195–202. doi:10.1007/BF00004954 Abstract

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37231001

Depth:44-561m (740-1030m AUS)


Max Size:29 cm SL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map