Giant Cuskeel, Spectrunculus grandis Günther 1877

Other Names: Giant Cusk-eel, Pudgy Cuskeel

A Giant Cuskeel, Spectrunculus grandis, on the Davidson Seamount off California - depth 2516 m. Source: NOAA Photo Library / License: Public Domain

A large pale greyish to dark brown cuskeel found worldwide at deep bathyal and abyssal depths.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Spectrunculus grandis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024,

Giant Cuskeel, Spectrunculus grandis Günther 1877

More Info


Recorded in Australia from off New South Wales, to the Great Australian Bight, South Australia, and the Lord Howe Rise in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is circumglobal in tropical to temperate waters at depths of 800-4300 m.


Dorsal fin 135-148; Anal fin 101-112; Vertebrae 77-88. 


Feeds on a range of invertebrates including crustaceans, gastropod molluscs and polychaete worms.


The species is oviparous, and females lay oval, pelagic eggs floating in a gelatinous mass. The larvae are epipelagic.


Occasionally taken as bycatch in bottom trawls.

Species Citation

Sirembo grandis Günther, 1877: 437. Type locality: south of Yeddo, Japan, 34 37 N, 140 32 E, 3431 m.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Giant Cuskeel, Spectrunculus grandis Günther 1877


Ambrose, D.A. 1996. Ophidiidae: cusk-eels. p. 513-531. In H.G. Moser (ed.) The early stages of fishes in the California Current region. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Atlas No. 33. 1505 pp.

Cohen, D.M. & J.G. Nielsen. 1978. Guide to the identification of genera of the fish order Ophidiiformes with a tentative classification of the order. NOAA Technical Report, NMFS circular 417: 1–72.

Günther, A. 1877. Preliminary notes on new fishes collected in Japan during the expedition of H.M.S. ‘‘Challenger’’. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 4: 433–446. Ref at BHL

Günther, A. 1887. Report on the deep-sea fishes collected by H.M.S Challenger during the years 1873–1876. Report on the Scientific Results of the Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger 1873–1876, Zoology 22(57): 1-268 figs 1-7 pls 1-66 (as Neobythites grandis)

Henriques, C., Priede, I. & Bagley, M. 2002. Baited camera observations of deep-sea demersal fishes of the northeast Atlantic Ocean at 15–28. Marine Biology 141: 307-314.

Hubbs, C.L. & W.I. Follett. 1978. Anatomical notes on an adult male of the deep-sea ophidiid fish Parabassogigas grandis from off California. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences XLI: 389–399.

King, N.J., Bagley, P.M. & Priede, I.G. 2006. Depth zonation and latitudinal distribution of deep-sea scavenging demersal fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 42 to 53°N. Marine Ecology Progress Series 319: 263-274.

Knudsen, S., Nielsen, J. & Uiblein, F. 2015. Spectrunculus grandis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T18139045A60799962. Downloaded on 15 July 2017.

Matarese, A.C., A.W. Kendall, D.M. Blood & M.V. Vinter. 1989. Laboratory guide to early life history stages of Northeast Pacific fishes. NOAA Tech. Rep. NMFS 80: 1-652.

Mauchline, J. & J.D.M. Gordon. 1984. Occurrence and feeding of berycomorphid and percomorphid teleost fish in the Rockall Trough. J. Cons. Int. Explor. Mer. 41: 239-247.

Nielsen, J.G. & D.M. Cohen. 1986. Ophidiidae. p. 345-350. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Nielsen, J.G., D.M. Cohen, D.F. Markle & C.R. Robins. 1999. Ophidiiform fishes of the world (Order Ophidiiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of pearlfishes, cusk-eels, brotulas and other ophidiiform fishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis 125(18): 178 pp. Rome: FAO.

Nielsen, J.G. & J.-C. Hureau. 1980. Revision of the ophidiid genus Spectrunculus Jordan and Thompson, 1914, a senior synonym of Parabassogigas Nybelin, 1957 (Pisces, Ophidiiformes). Steenstrupia 6: 149–169.

Nielsen, J. G. & Møller, P. R. 2011. Revision of the bathyal cusk-eels of the genus Bassogigas (Ophidiidae) with description of a new species from off Guam, west Pacific Ocean. Journal of Fish Biology 78: 783-795

Nybelin, O. 1957. Deep-sea bottom fishes. Report of the Swedish Deep-Sea Expedition 1947–1948 2(20): 247-345 (as Parabassogigas grandis)

Uiblein, F., J.G. Nielsen & P.R. Møller. 2008. Systematics of the ophidiid genus Spectrunculus (Teleostei: Ophidiiformes) with resurrection of S. crassus. Copeia 2008(3): 542-551.

Vaillant, L.L. 1888. Expéditions Scientifiques du Travailleur et du Talisman pendant les années 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883. Paris : G. Masson 406 pp. 28 pls.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37228084

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:800-4300 m

Habitat:Bathydemersal, abyssodemersal

Max Size:127 cm SL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map