Based upon throe specimens collected in the vicinity of Fort Bragg, California, Aphanopus carbo Lowe, 1839, is reported from the Pacific Ocean for the first time. Data and keys are presented for distinguishing A. carbo and four other species of Californian trichiurids (Assurger anzac, Diplospinus multistriatus, Lepidopus xantusi, and Trichiurus nitens). Key characters include shape of caudal fin, shape of dorsal fin. presence or absence of ventral fins, body depth into standard length, and counts of dorsal rays, anal rays, vertebrae, and pyloric caeca. Otoliths (sagittae) of the five species are illustrated and differentiated on the basis of shape, proportions, and size.