Melanocetus johnsonii

Alternate names: black seadevil, black seadevil anglerfish, humpback anglerfish

Author: Günther, 1864


General: Dramatic sexual dimorphism. Females globular in shape with a large head and mouth, sharp teeth, distensible stomach, and uniform dark brown or black color. First doral fin ray of female modified into a short lure (illicium) with bulbous, luminous tip (esca). Dwarf males slender in shape and are free-living (non-parasitic). Males have large olfactory organs and inflated nostrils.

Size: To 18 cm total length (female) and to 2.9 cm total length (male).

Reproduction: Oviparous with planktonic larvae.

Geographic Information

Ocean range (global): Worldwide in tropical and temperate waters.

Habitat description: Mesopelagic and bathypelagic.

Published depth range: 100 - 4,500 m

Additional Information

Color: Dark brown or black.

Diet: Fishes and crustaceans.


Encyclopedia of Life

Tree of Life

World Register of Marine Species

National Center for Biotechnology Information

Froese, R. and D. Pauly, ed. (2019) "Melanocetus johnsonii, Humpback anglerfish." FishBase. Accessed 10/28/20.

Pietsch, T.W. (2005.) "Melanocetidae. Melanocetus. Black Seadevils." The Tree of Life Web Project. Last modified 11/5/05.

Citation: Melanocetus johnsonii (Günther, 1864) Deep-Sea Guide (DSG) at http://dsg/ Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Consulted on 2021-03-06.
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