Snaggletooth, Astronesthes niger Richardson 1845

A Snaggletooth, Astronesthes niger - MCZ 133101. Source: Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A slender black, moderately elongate stareater with comblike maxillary teeth, serial photophores not broken into small groups, and a long chin barbel tipped with a bioluminescent knob. Pale luminous patches are present on the middle of the snout and along the front of the upper jaw, and additional patches develop with growth on the shoulder and the lower sides below the dorsal between the pectoral and pelvic fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Astronesthes niger in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 Nov 2022,

Snaggletooth, Astronesthes niger Richardson 1845

More Info


An oceanic and mesopelagic species usually found at depths below 500 m during the day, and often taken near the surface at night. 


Dorsal fin 14-17, positioned slightly behind pelvic fins; Anal fin 12-16; ventral adipose fin positioned before anus. Photophores in two longitudinal rows; luminous patches in front of the eye, above the nostrils, above the eye, and a large patch above the pectoral fin.


Feeds on midwater fishes and crustaceans.

Similar Species

Differs from other closely related species by the snout lacking an upturned tip, the barbel being less than 1.7 times the head length, and by the swollen portion on the barbel being one third to one half its length.

Species Citation

Astronesthes nigra Richardson 1845, Ichthyology.--Part 2. The zoology of the voyage of H. M. S. Sulphur: 97, Pl. 50 (figs. 1-3).  Type locality unknown.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Snaggletooth, Astronesthes niger Richardson 1845


Gibbs, R.H. Jr. 1964. Family Astronesthidae. pp. 311-350 figs 77-91, in Olsen, Y.H. (ed.) Fishes of the western North Atlantic. Memoir. Sears Foundation of Marine Research 1(4): 1-599

Gibbs, R.H. Jr. 1984. Astronesthidae. pp. 325-335, in Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.-C., Nielsen, J. & Tortonese, E. (eds) 1984. Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Paris : UNESCO Vol. 1 510 pp. figs.

Harold, A. 2015. Astronesthes niger. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T190361A21909229. Downloaded on 21 June 2019.

John, H.-C. 1978. Solar and lunar rhythms in the occurrence of Astronesthes niger (Pisces) at the sea surface. Journal of Interdisciplinary Cycle Research 9(3): 169-177,

Kenaley, C.P., Harold, A.S. & Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Stomiidae pp. 240-254), in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Parin, N.V. & Borodulina, O.D. 2002. Preliminary review of species group Astronesthes niger (Astronesthidae, Stomiiformes) with a description of six new species from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Journal of Ichthyology 42(7): 495–515

Richardson, J. 1845. Ichthyology. Pert II, pp. 51-150, pls 35-64 in Hinds, R.B. (ed.) The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Sulphur under the Command of Captain Sir Edward Belcher, during the years 1836–42. London : Smith, Elder & Co. Vol. 1(3).

Sutton, T.T. & Hopkins, T.L. 1996. Species Composition, Abundance, and Vertical Distribution of the Stomiid (Pisces: Stomiiformes) Fish Assemblage of the Gulf of Mexico. Bulletin of Marine Science 59(3): 530-542.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37108002


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-1000 m

Habitat:Epipelagic, mesopelagic

Max Size:16 cm SL

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