Lepophidium brevibarbe

FamilyScientific NameAuthorYearCommon Name
OphididaeLepophidium brevibarbe(Cuvier)1829Blackedge Cusk-eel

Family Ophididae — Moderately elongate ophidiiform fishes (size from about 10 to 200 cm). Anterior nostril placed midway between upper lip and posterior nostril. Supramaxilla present. Teeth usually small, densely distributed, and blunt-tipped. Very seldom fewer than 7 long gill rakers on anterior gill arch (except in Ophidiini). Dorsal and anal fins long, joined to caudal fin; dorsal-fin rays normally longer than opposing anal-fin rays; pelvic-fin rays 0-2. Scales present. A well-developed spine on opercle usually present. Anus placed posterior to tip of pectoral fin except in species with prolonged pectoral fins.

Subfamily Ophidiinae — No barbels on snout and chin. Main body of ventral arm of cleithrum meeting its mate at about level of preopercle, but a slender, elongate filament of bone extends anteriorly to pelvic fins inserted beneath eye. Median basibranchial tooth patches present or absent.

Tribe Lepophidiini — All body scales in regular overlapping rows; posterior part of head extensively scaled.

Lepophidium brevibarbe

Unique Characters: Head and body tan, unmarked except for dark margin to dorsal fin and, to a lesser extent, anal fin. Dorsal-fin rays 124-134. Anal-fin rays 99-110. Gill rakers usually 3 (rarely 2 or 4) rudiments on upper limb of first arch, 4 (very rarely 5) developed rakers on lower limb.

Similar Species:

Fawn Cusk-eel
Lepophidium profundorum

Mottled Cusk-eel Lepophidium jeannae

Barred Cusk-eel Lepophidium staurophor

Lepophidium jeannae
Mottled Cusk-eel – Lepophidium jeannae

Fawn Cusk-eel Lepophidium profundorum. Body sooty brown with row of large, pale spots on upper flank.

Mottled Cusk-eel Lepophidium jeannae. Body and fins with dark spots or bars. Dorsal fin with black spot forming interrupted border; body with many dusky blotches.

Barred Cusk-eel Lepophidium staurophor. Body and fins with dark spots or bars. Dorsal fin with 5 or 6 blackish blotches; upper two thirds of flank with five broad dark brown bars.


McEachran, J. and J.D. Fechhelm. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico, Volume 1 Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX. 1120p.

FAO. 1999. FAO species catalogue. Volume 18. Ophidiiform fishes of the world (Order Ophidiiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of pearlfishes, cusk-eels, brotulas and other ophidiiform fishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis. No. 125, Vol. 18. 178p., 136 figs. Rome, Italy.