Blacktail Snailfish

Blacktail Snailfish (Careproctus melanurus)

A crab and snailfish encountered during a site survey between the Endurance Oregon Offshore 2-legged mooring EOM leg anchor and the low-voltage node LV01C. The scaling laser dots are 10 cm apart.
Photo Credit: NSF-OOI/UW/CSSF, Dive R1752, V14

Careproctus melanurus is a common benthic fish at midslope and upper slope depths (and is the most abundant liparid on the upper slope). Distinctive characteristics include a relatively thick pink body with black-edged dorsal and anal fins and a black caudal fin. They are typically seen on a soft bottom (mud or sandy silt), sometimes as much as 100 m above the seafloor. They have been observed hovering horizontally just above bottom or up to a meter above it, often with its head inclined slightly downwards. When off the bottom, they swim very slowly by rippling their trunk and tail, facing into the current and sometimes drifting slowly backwards, using their pectoral fins to maintain position. They are occasionally seen at the Oregon Offshore site or near the OOI infrastructure at LV01C.