Spotted fanfish

The Spotted fanfish, Pteraclis velifera, is a pomfret of the family Bramidae, found in the indo-west Pacific oceans from South Africa to New Zealand, at depths down to 1640.42 ft (500 m). Its length is between 14.75 and 23.62 in (40 and 60 cm).

The spotted fanfish is an elongate pelagic fish with a small deeply forked tail and large eyes near the front of a very blunt snout. The body tapers from the top of the head to the caudal peduncle. The dorsal and anal fins take the form of huge fans which extend the full length of the body and which can be folded away in grooves at the bases of the fins. As the anal fin extends far forward of its normal position the anus of this species is beneath the throat. Each scale has a longitudinal ridge running along it, often ending in a hooked spine.

The body is a uniform silver-grey, with darker blue-grey fins and a red eye. This fish is rarely seen and the few that are caught by trawling are usually badly damaged.

Illustration by Dr Tony Ayling