Common name: Grenadiers, bathygadids, rattails, whiptails

A small group of rare deepwater cod-like fishes with a large terminal mouth, a long tapering tail and no caudal fin, the second dorsal fin beginning immediately behind the first, long lathe-like gill rakers and smooth scales. Most Australian species were treated in Iwamoto & Williams (1999) and Iwamoto & Graham (2001).

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Bathygadids, BATHYGADIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Mar 2024,

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Family Taxonomy

Small family with 2 genera and about 35 species; both genera and 6 described species known from Australian waters.

Family Distribution

Worldwide in tropical to subtropical seas, but also in temperate waters of Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, absent from eastern Pacific; benthopelagic in 200-2700 m, mostly in 400-1500 m.

Family Description

Pelvic fin rays 8-10; Gillrakers first arch >20; Branchiostegal rays 7.

Body cod-like, mouth large, terminal; first gill slit not restricted by membrane; outer gill rakers on first arch long, lathe like.

Two dorsal fins, the second beginning immediately behind first; first with a smooth flexible spinous ray; caudal fin absent.

Spinules absent form scales.

Family Size

Bathygadids grow to more than 60 cm in length.

Family Feeding

Bathygadids are thought to feed above the bottom on small free-swimming crustaceans such as copepods, euphausids and decapods.

Family Reproduction

Little known; young (called alevins) are only rarely caught in plankton nets. Eggs are presumably buoyant and small, possibly rising in the water column then possibly sinking back towards spawning depths where hatching occurs; larvae transform between 7-13 mm.

Family Commercial

Although bathygadids are taken as bycatch in commercial trawls, they are either caught in small numbers or are not shallow enough to be of interest to fisheries.

Family Conservation

IUCN: Not evaluated


Dianne J. Bray


Howes, G.J. & O.A. Crimmen. 1990. A review of the Bathygadidae (Teleostei : Gadiformes). Bull. British. Mus. Nat. Hist. (Zool.) 56(2): 155-203

Iwamoto, T. 1990. Family Macrouridae. pp. 90-138 In Cohen, D. M., T. Inada, T. Iwamoto & N. Scialabba. (eds) FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform fishes of the world (order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 10, 442 pp.

Iwamoto, T. & Graham, K.J. 2001. Grenadiers (Families Bathygadidae and Macrouridae, Gadiformes, Pisces) of New South Wales, Australia. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 52(21): 407-509 figs 1-114.

Iwamoto, T. & Williams, A. 1999. Grenadiers (Pisces, Gadiformes) from the continental slope of western and northwestern Australia. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 51(3): 105-243 figs 1-58 Marshall, N.B. & T. Iwamoto. 1973. Family Macrouridae. In Cohen, D.M. (ed.) Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Mem. Sears Found. Mar. Res. Mem. 1(6): 496-665.

McMillan, P. 1994. Family Macrouridae. pp. 340-364 figs 304-325 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Merret, N.R. 2006. Bathygadidae and Macrouridae: Grenadiers, pp. 595-599, In W.J. Richards (ed). Early Stages Of Atlantic Fishes: An Identification Guide For The Western Central North Atlantic. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL, 2640 pp.

Merrett, N.R. & T. Iwamoto. 2000. Pisces Gadiformes: Grenadier fishes of the New Caledonian region, southwest Pacific Ocean. Taxonomy and distribution, with ecological notes. In Crosnier, A. (ed). R├ęsultats des Campagnes MUSORSTOM, v. 21. Mem. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. No. 184: 723-781.