Family BATHYSAURIDAE


Common name: Deepsea Lizardfishes

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Summary:

These deep-sea bottom-living fishes grow to about 65 cm, and have very large toothy mouths and specialised pectoral fin rays.


Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Deepsea Lizardfishes, BATHYSAURIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Aug 2017, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/family/294

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Family Taxonomy

The family Bathysauridae comprises a single genus, Bathysaurus, with two species. A single species, Bathysaurus ferox, is known from Australian waters.

Family Distribution

Circumglobal in tropical and temperate waters between latitudes 65° N and 40° S, absent from polar regions; in Australian waters known from SE of Port Macquarie, NSW (31°46'S, 153°19'E) to SE of Shark Bay, WA (27°33'S, 112°16'E); widely distributed bottom-dwelling fishes on the continental slope and abyss in depths below 550m, usually between 1000 to 2500m, to about 1350m in Australian waters.

Family Description

Meristics: D 15-18; A 11-14; P 15-17; V 8: BR 8-13

Head & body: Head very depressed; eyes small to moderate, located well behind snout; mouth very large, upper jaw extending well beyond rear end of eye; dorsal fin about equal to head length, inserted just behind pelvic-fin insertion; dorsal adipose fin present or absent; anal fin posterior; pectoral fin with one or more prolonged rays; inner rays of pelvic fin slightly shorter than outer rays; caudal fin with a row of scale son  procurrent and principle caudal-fin rays; teeth present on vomer; gill rakers reduced to patches of spines on the arches.

Family Size

Maximum length more than 65 cm.

Family Feeding

Voracious carnivores, feeding mostly on demersal and bathypelagic fishes, and occasionally on large benthic or bathypelagic decapod crustacea.

Family Reproduction

Deepsea lizardfishes are synchronous hermaphrodites, having both male and female reproductive tissue at the same time. Reproduction is oviparous. Fecundity is high, with pelagic eggs, larvae and postlarvae. Postlarval development is thought to be gradual and prolonged in the upper midwaters, whereas transformaton from the postlarval to the benthic juvenile stage is rapid.

Family Commercial

Of no commmercial importance.

Family Conservation

Not assessed.

Author

Dianne J. Bray

References


Baldwin, C.C. & Johnson, G.D. 1996. Interrelationships of Aulopiformes. pp. 355-404 in Stiassny, M.L.J., Parenti, L.R. & Johnson, G.D. (eds). Interrelationships of Fishes. San Diego : Academic Press 496 pp.

Cressey, R.F. 1986. Synodontidae (p. 270-273). In Smith, M.M. & P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Bathysauridae (p. 261-262) In Gomon, M.F., D.J. Bray & R.H. Kuiter (eds.) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. New Holland Publishers & Museum Victoria. 928 pp.

Johnson, R.K. 1982. Fishes of the families Evermannellidae and Scopelarchidae: systematics, morphology, interrelationships and zoogeography. Fieldiana Zoology ns 12: 1–252, figs. 1–74.

Mead, G.W. 1966. Family Bathysauridae, Bathypteroidae, Ipnopidae and Chlorophthalmidae. p. 103-189. In W.W. Anderson et al. Fishes of the western North Atlantic. Part five. New Haven, Sears Found. Mar. Res., Yale Univ.

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York. 4th edition. 601 pp.

Paulin, C., A. Stewart, C. Roberts & P. McMillan. 1989. New Zealand fish: a complete guide. National Museum of New Zealand Miscellaneous Series No. 19. xiv+279 p.

Paxton, J.R., J.E. Gates & D.F. Hoese. 2006. Bathysauridae. In Hoese, D.F., D.J. Bray, G.R.Allen, J.R. Paxton, P.L. Beesley & A. Wells (eds.) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. Fishes. CSIRO Publishing & ABRS, Melbourne, Australia.

Porteiro, F.M., O. Melo, J.P. Barreiros & L. Gallagher. 1998. Postlarvae of Bathysaurus ferox (=Macristium chavesi) from the Azores waters. Arquipélago 16A: 63-67.

Russell, B.C. 1999. Family Bathysauridae. In Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem. Species identification guide for fisheries purposes. The living marine resources of the western central Pacific. Batoid fishes, chimeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). FAO, Rome.

Sulak, K.J., Wenner, C.A., Sedberry, G.R. & L. Van Guelpen, 1985. The life history and systematics of deep-sea lizard fishes, genus Bathysaurus (Synodontidae).  Can. J. Zool. 63: 623-642.