Lepophidium microlepis (Gilbert, 1890)
Silver cusk eel
photo by Robertson, R.

Family:  Ophidiidae (Cusk-eels), subfamily: Ophidiinae
Max. size:  41.5 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  demersal; depth range 73 - 307 m
Distribution:  Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California and along the outer coast of Baja California as far north as Bahía Sebastían Viscaíno.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal soft rays (total): 117-128; Anal soft rays: 97-108; Vertebrae: 66-70. This fine-scaled species have the following characteristics: pyloric caeca usually 5-6, typically 5 + 1; usually 3 rudimentary gill rakers on the upper arm of the first arch and 4-5 developed rakers on lower arm with 2-5 rudimentary rakers anteriorly, total gill rakers usually 11-12 (10-15); count of scale rows almost 30 between the occipital line and the dorsal-fin origin, 14-15 rows between the dorsal-fin origin and the lateral line, and about 255 lateral scale rows; dorsal-fin origin between neural spines 4-5 (rarely between 3-4); color of head and body rather uniformly dusky, silvery, or whitish along the belly; dorsal fin usually lacks a dark edge, and when present it is poorly developed; anal fin has an inconspicuous and narrow dark edge; orobranchial cavity usually pale, but the rear of the roof of the mouth may be dusky; esophagus blackish; stomach and hindgut pale (Ref. 91765).
Biology:  Occurs benthically, from 210-307 m in the Gulf of California and 73-293 m on the outer coast (Ref. 91765). Oviparous, with oval pelagic eggs floating in a gelatinous mass (Ref. 205).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 23 May 2007 Ref. (120744)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

Entered by: Garilao, Cristina V. - 12.07.95
Modified by: Reyes, Rodolfo B. - 02.05.16
Checked by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 08.04.13

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