Using sagittal otoliths and eye diameter for ecological characterization of deep-sea fish: Aphanopus carbo and A. intermedius from NE Atlantic waters


  • Víctor Manuel Tuset Departamento de Biología Pesquera, Instituto Canario de Ciencias Marinas (ICCM-ACIISI) - Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC)
  • Silvia Piretti Departamento de Biología Pesquera, Instituto Canario de Ciencias Marinas (ICCM-ACIISI)
  • Antoni Lombarte Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC)
  • José Antonio González Departamento de Biología Pesquera, Instituto Canario de Ciencias Marinas (ICCM-ACIISI)



ecology, morphometry, otolith, Aphanopus carbo, Aphanopus intermedius, teleosts


The sagittal otolith and eye diameter of two sympatric species of the genus Aphanopus, A. carbo and A. intermedius, from North Atlantic waters were investigated. The study objectives were to find morphometric variables of otoliths to identify the two species and relate ecomorphological characters of otolith and eye diameter to the depth distribution of each species. The otoliths of the two species are very similar, although significant differences in shape, otolith height and weight and the sulcus acusticus area were detected. The ratio between eye diameter and cephalic length (ED:CL ratio) was also significantly different. In both analyses A. carbo obtained higher values, which suggests that A. carbo and A. intermedius live in different spatial niches, and that A. carbo inhabits deeper waters. The ratio between the sulcus and otolith areas (S:O) was low compared to other fish species, which suggests that the hearing capacity of Aphanopus spp. is adapted to low frequency sound. This adaptation may be related to the oceanographic conditions in which these species live, and in particular to the characteristics of sound transmission in the “SOFAR channel”.


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How to Cite

Tuset VM, Piretti S, Lombarte A, González JA. Using sagittal otoliths and eye diameter for ecological characterization of deep-sea fish: Aphanopus carbo and A. intermedius from NE Atlantic waters. scimar [Internet]. 2010Dec.30 [cited 2023Dec.8];74(4):807-14. Available from:




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