Halfnaked Hatchetfish, Argyropelecus hemigymnus Cocco 1829

Other Names: Half-naked Hatchetfish, Half-naked Hatchet-fish

Halfnaked Hatchetfish, Argyropelecus hemigymnus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial

Adult Halfnaked Hatchetfish undertake daily vertical migrations, rising in the water column at dusk to feed on copepods and small fishes in shallower mesopelagic and epipelagic waters.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Argyropelecus hemigymnus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/3940

Halfnaked Hatchetfish, Argyropelecus hemigymnus Cocco 1829

More Info


A bathypelagic species, found at depths of up to 2,400 m. Usually occurs at 200-700 m during the day - concentrating at 350-550 m. At night, found at 100-650 m, preferring 150-380 m. Adults make daily vertical migrations to feed in shallower waters at night.


Adults undertake daily vertical migrations in the water column, rising at dusk to feed on copepods and small fishes in shallower waters.


The photophores of Argyropelecus are thought to luminesce continuously (Clarke, 1963), with the intensity of the light produced being rapidly adjusted and modulated to match that of the background twilight. 

Females spawn planktonic eggs multiple times during a season.


Dianne J. Bray

Halfnaked Hatchetfish, Argyropelecus hemigymnus Cocco 1829


Baguet, F. & Marechal, G. (1976). Bioluminescence of bathypelagic fish from the strait of Messina. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 53C: 75-82.

Baguet, F. & Marechal, G. (1978). The stimulation of isolated photophores (Argyropelecus) by epinephrine and norepinephrine. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 60C: 137-143.

Baguet, F., Christophe, B. & Marechal, G. (1980). Luminescence of Argyropelecus photophores electrically stimulated. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 67A: 375-381.

Clarke, W.D. (1963). Function of bioluminescence in mesopelagic organisms. Nature 198: 1244-1246.

Gjøsaeter, J. & Kawaguchi, K. 1980. A review of the world resources of mesopelagic fish. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 193. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Harold, A.S. 2010. Argyropelecus hemigymnus. In: IUCN 2014. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. . Downloaded on 18 June 2014.

Hopkins, T.L. & Baird, R.C. 1985. Feeding ecology of four hatchetfishes (Sternoptychidae) in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Bulletin of Marine Science 36(2): 260-277.

Hopkins, T.L., Sutton, T.T. &Lancraft, T.M. 1996. The trophic structure and predation impact of a low latitude midwater fish assemblage. Progress in Oceanography 38: 205-239.

Krönström1, J., S. Holmgren, F. Baguet, L. Salpietro & Jerome Mallefet. Nitric oxide in control of luminescence from hatchetfish (Argyropelecus hemigymnus) photophores. J Exp Biol 208: 2951-2961. doi: 10.1242/​jeb.01712 Full article

Mallefet, J. & Baguet, F. (1985). Effects of adrenaline on the oxygen consumption and luminescence of the photophores of the mesopelagic fish Argyropelecus hemigymnus. J. Exp. Biol. 118: 341-349. PDF

Mallefet, J. & Baguet, F. (1991). Metabolic control of Argyropelecus hemigymnus photophores: effects of glucose and pyruvate. Can. J. Zool. 69: 2410-2413.

Matarese, A.C., Kendall, A.W., Blood, D.M. & Vinter, M.V. 1989. Laboratory guide to early life history stages of Northeast Pacific fishes. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Merrett, N.R. & Roe, H.S.J. 1974. Patterns and selectivity in the feeding of certain mesopelagic fishes. Marine Biology 28: 115-126.

Roe, H.S.J. & Badcock, J. 1984. The diel migrations and distributions within a mesopelagic community in the north east Atlantic. 5. Vertical migrations and feeding of fish. Progress in Oceanography 13: 389-424.

Zaccone G., Abelli, L., Salpietro, L., Zaccone, D., Macrì, B. & Marino, F. 2011. Nervous control of photophores in luminescent fishes. Acta Histochem. 113(4): 387-394. doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2010.03.007. Abstract

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37107006

Behaviour:Daily vertical migrations


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:100-2400 m

Habitat:Bathypelagic, mesopelagic

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