Common Bellowsfish, Macroramphosus scolopax (Linnaeus 1758)


Other Names: Common Bellows-fish, Common Snipefish, Deepbody Snipefish, Long Nosed Snipefish, Longspine Snipefish, Snipefish

A Common Bellowsfish, Macroramphosus scolopax, photographed during the Deep-sea Lebanon Expedition, October 2016. Source: Oceana Europe / Flickr. License: All rights reserved

Summary:

The Common Bellowsfish, currently considered to be the most widespread species in the family Macroramphosidae may comprise a species complex. Bellowsfishes are gregarious, sometimes forming schools of several hundred individuals.


Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson, Macroramphosus scolopax in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 Sep 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3162

Common Bellowsfish, Macroramphosus scolopax (Linnaeus 1758)

More Info


Distribution

Known in Australian waters from Cape York, Queensland, south to New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and across to the western edge of the Great Australian Bight, Western Australia.

Elsewhere, widespread in subtropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic (including in the Mediterranean Sea) and Indo-West Pacific Oceans.  

A schooling species, the Common Bellowsfish lives near the bottom on the continental shelf, upper continental slope, and oceanic seamounts at 60-500m.

Features

Meristics: D IV-V, 11-13; A 18-20; Vertebrae 24

Body highly compressed, elongate-oval in shape, moderately deep, body depth 28-37% SL; upper and lower profiles of body smoothly convex, almost symmetrical; tubular snout very elongate, snouth length 27-30% SL, mouth tiny, at the end of long snout, teeth absent. Second dorsal-fin spine elongate, robust and serrate, spine length 30-38% SL. Body encased in armour, a bony ridge and abdominal scutes present.

Size

Although the Common Bellowsfish reaches a maximum total length of 228 mm (Atlantic Ocean, off Portugal), the species reportedly grows to 180mm in Australian waters.

Colour

Body reddish-pink to orange above, pale to silvery below, fins pink; pelagic juveniles overall silvery-blue.

Feeding

Common Bellowsfish are carnivorous predators that feed near the bottom on small bottom-dwelling invertebrates, especially crustaceans. Prey items sucked into their long snouts include crustaceans (amphipods, copepods, shrimps and small crabs), polychaete worms and foraminiferans.

Biology

Reproduction: Oviparous, sexes separate. Reproduction takes place during January and February.

Eggs: Pelagic

Larvae: Neustonic; notch in the anal region

Juveniles: Epipelagic in oceanic surface waters with a neustonic distribution until they grow to 12mm SL. Juveniles reportedly migrate vertically from surface waters during daylight hours to deeper waters at night.

Fisheries

Because of their schooling behaviour, Smooth Bellowfish are regularly taken as bycatch in many commercial trawl fisheries. This species is also traded in the aquarium industry. Bellowsfishes are food for many other fish species, including commercially important species such as John Dory (Zeus faber), catsharks, mackerels and hake.

Conservation

IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Remarks

Rather than being a single species distributed worldwide, individuals from different geographic regions may represent separate species. The genus is currently being revised.

Similar Species

Macroramphosus scolopax is most closely related to the Little Bellowsfish, Macroramphosis gracillis, which has a more slender body, a longer snout, a shorter second dorsal-fin spine and a smaller eye.

Etymology

Macroramphosus is from the Greek makros, meaning great, and rhamphos meaning beak or bill, in reference to the very long snout.

Species Citation

Balistes scolopax Linnaeus 1758 Systema Nat. 10: 329, Mediterranean Sea.

Author

Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson

Resources

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Common Bellowsfish, Macroramphosus scolopax (Linnaeus 1758)

References


Baker, J. 2008. Status of Marine Species at Risk in South Australia: Technical Report – Bony and Cartilaginous Fish. Report and CD prepared for the South Australian Working Group for Marine Species of Conservation Concern. Coast and Marine Branch, S.A. Department for Environment and Heritage (DEH), Marine and Coastal Community Network of S.A. (MCCN), and Threatened Species Network (TSN). Reef Watch, Conservation Council of South Australia. 870pp.

Borges, L. 2001. A new maximum length for the Snipefish Macroramphosus scolopax. Cybium. 25(2): 191–192.

Clarke, T.A. 1984. Diet and morphological variation in snipefishes, presently recognized as Macrorhamphosus scolopax, from southeast Australia: evidence for two sexually dimorphic species. Copeia 1984(3): 595–608.

Ehrich, S. 1986. Macroramphosidae. p. 627. In P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese (eds.) Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Volume 2. Unesco, Paris.

Fritzsche, R.A. & Thiesfeld, K.G. 1999. Families Aulostomidae, Fistularidae, and Centriscidae. In Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H., eds. FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the western central Pacific. Vol. 4. Bony fishes part 2 (Mugilidae to Carangidae). Rome: FAO.

Fritzsche, R., Matsuura, K., Collette, B., Nelson, J., Dooley, J., Carpenter, K., Bartnik, S., Robinson, E. & Morgan, S.K. 2009. Macroramphosus scolopax. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 13 January 2011.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Macrorhamphosidae (p. 480-484). In Gomon, M.F., D.J. Bray & R.H. Kuiter. (Eds.) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Reed New Holland, Chatswood, Australia, 928 pp. 

Heemstra, P.C. 1986. Macrorhamphosidae. p. 459–461. In M.M. Smith & P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Macmillian South Africa Pty Ltd.

Kuiter, R. H. 2009. Seahorses and their relatives. Aquatic Photographics, Seaford, Australia. 333 pp.

May, J.L. & J.G.H. Maxwell. 1986. Trawl fish from temperate waters of Australia. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, Tasmania. 492pp.

 Miyazaki, E., K. Sasaki, T. Mitani, M. Ishida & S. Uehara.  2004. The occurrence of two species of Macroramphosus (Gasterosteiformes: Macroramphosidae) in Japan: Morphological and ecological observations on larvae, juveniles, and adults. Ichthyol. Res. 51: 256–62.

Paxton, J.R., J.E. Gates & D.F. Hoese.  2006. Gasterosteiformes, In Hoese, D.F., D.J. Bray, J.R. Paxton, G.R. Allen, Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells (Eds). Zoological catalogue of Australia. Volume 35  Fishes. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing, Australia. Part 2.

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

Young, J.W., T.D. Lamb & R.W. Bradford. 1996. Distribution and community structure of midwater fishes in relation to the subtropical convergence off eastern Tasmania, Australia. Mar. Biol. 126(4): 571-584.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37279002

Conservation:IUCN: Least Concern

Depth:60-500 m

Max Size:18 cm (Australia)

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