Scorpaenidae: BL III A1

Helicolenus dactylopterus (Delaroche, 1809)


Egg diameter in µm

Number of oil globules

Diameter of oil globule in µm

Yolk texture

Perivitelline space

Position of oil globule at hatch

Gut length   at eye- pigment stage


915-1060 x 770-840






50% of NL


Egg: This egg is found singly, with no evidence of initially being enclosed in a gelatinous sac or coating, but the larva has characteristics similar to ABHIIIA1 & ABHIIIA2. When fresh, the egg was sometimes noted as having a striking yellow amber oil globule, but in others it was clear. There is a distinct red sheen to the chorion. The egg is distinctly oval; the yolk surface is “goose-pimpled". Brownell (1979) described the yolk as vesiculated (segmented), but I have not observed this in my eggs. No pigment is seen on the embryo. Incubation is about 30 hours.

Larva: The newly hatched larva shows no pigment (C). The 3-day larva has just a few inconspicuous black spots on the gut and ventral midtail, difficult to see in some specimens, and a slightly rough finfold surface (C).  At 5 days, the black pigment on the gut and tail, is conspicuous (E). C: 1 day, D: 3 days, E: 5 days.

This egg has only been seen 17 times, usually just one or two. It was not seen in DHM samples. The meagre data suggests it is a winter and spring spawner (blue graph). It was not reared. Four larvae have been sequenced, from three separate collection dates, and they match the barcodes of 6 Helicolenus dactylopterus collected locally (BOLD).

Only 17 of these eggs were seen in the Park Rynie paired samples, of which 15 were offshore, indicating this species spawns well offshore of the 50m contour. See Section 7.3 and Table 1 of the Introductory Notes, for more information on the linked samples.