Malacocephalus laevis   Lowe,  1843 (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Size: 36.5-60.0 cm.

Color: Brown, first dorsal, pectorals, ventrals and belly blackish, the last with a silvery hue.

Dorsal profile of head nearly straight, 5.4 to 5.8 in length. Depth below origin of first dorsal equal head without snout. Eye 3.3 to 3.6 in head, 1.4 to 1.6 in its postorbital part and about equal to flat interorbital space. Snout bluntly pointed, with a hardly distinguishable median point projecting obliquely beyond mouth, the distance of its tip to intermaxillaries 4 to 4.8 in head. Mouth wide, the upper jaw, which is contained 2 to 2.2 times in length of head, reaches hindborder of eye or nearly so. Mandibularly barbel equal to eye or somewhat less. In the outer intermaxillary series there are about 12 or more enlarged curved teeth, in the lower series about 6-10. Scales on head very small and rough, those on body deciduous, small, densely covered with short spines, about 14-16 scales between lateral line and end of first dorsal. They are wanting on throat and branchiostegal membranes, as also on a longitudinal spot before anus and on a transverse lensshaped spot between base of ventrals. Second dorsal spine rounded, smooth, its length about equal to that of pectorals, which is conspicuously more than half length of head. Origin of ventrals slightly behind that of pectorals, their length about equal to diameter of eye, the outer ray with a filamentous end is slightly prolonged. Anus situated in middle of the distance between origin of anal and base of ventrals, which distance is about a fifth of the length of the head, the anus lies at the end of an oval naked area. The similar naked area between the bases of ventrals has its long diameter transverse.
The trunk is short, the body tapers abruptly from behind the first dorsal fin. The caudal fin is absent. Head uniformly scaled, including the mandibles and the ventral aspects of the snout and suborbital. Snout blunt, its tip with a conical tubercle. Dorsal spines (total): 2, Dorsal soft rays (total): 229, Anal spines: 0.

In the past, fishers in the North Atlantic were reported to have used the luminescent excretion from the ventral light organ to enhance baits used for cod fishing.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Macrurus laevis Lowe, 1843
Malacocephalus laevis Gunther, 1862
Malacocephalus laevis Lutken, 1872
Malacocephalus laevis Winther, 1879
Macrurus laevis Gunther, 1887
Malacocephalus laevis Hilgendorf, 1889
Macrurus laevis Alcock, 1891
Malacocephalus laevis Lilljeborg, 1891
Macrurus (Malacocephalus) laevis Carus, 1893
Macrurus laevis Smit, 1895
Malacocephalus laevis Goode and Bean, 1895
Macrurus laevis Koehler, 1896
Macrurus (Malacocephalus) laevis Alcock, 1899
Macrurus (Malacocephalus) laevis Brauer, 1906
Malacocephalus laevis M. Weber, 1913
Malacocephalus laevis Gilbert and Hubbs, 1920
Malacocephalus laevis Barnard, 1925

Common Name (s)
• Brown Rattail
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial

Habitat:  Demersal
Trophic Level:  Secondary Consumer
Prey:  Zooplankton, zoobenthos
Predator:  Bony fishes


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA
• West Coast INDIA (Record: 1998-2000) (Depth: 501-750 mts)

Literature Source(s)
  • Rao, DV; Devi, K and Rajan, PT (2000) An account of ichthyofauna of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bay of Bengal Occasional paper no 178 Records of the Zoological Survey of India ZSI, Calcutta 1-434 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Suppa, M; Suebsin, S; Suri, V and Songsirikul, T (1997) Checklist of fishes in Thailand Office of Environmental Policy and Planning 1-353 Available at - CMFRI, Kochi
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Weber, M; Beaufort, LF (1929) The fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago E. J. Brill Ltd. 5 458 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Talwar, PK (1990) Fishes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: A synoptic survey Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 6(2) 71-102 Available at - NIO,Goa
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -
  • Venu, S and Kurup, BM (2002) Distribution and abundance of deep sea fishes along the west coast of India Fishery Technology Society of Fisheries Technologists 39(1) 20-26 Available at - NIO, Goa

Page last updated on:2011-12-27

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