Antipodean Spiderfish, Bathypterois oddi Sulak 1977

Other Names: Spiderfish, Underworld Feelerfish

An Antipodean Spiderfish, Bathypterois oddi, from a depth of 4000 metres on the abyssal plain east of Newcastle, New South Wales. Source: John Pogonoski / Australlian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: All rights reserved

A dark relatively robust spiderfish with tiny laterally-directed eyes, two extremely long pectoral-fin rays, elongate pelvic fins with a very long first ray, and a long lower caudal-fin lobe with an elongated lower fin ray. The Antipodean Spiderfish has deciduous scales and lacks a distinctive sub-caudal notch.

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Bathypterois oddi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Oct 2023,

Antipodean Spiderfish, Bathypterois oddi Sulak 1977

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Southern Queensland to off Newcastle, New South Wales, and the Great Australian Bight, off South Australia. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Zealand, and on the sub-antarctic Crozet Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean.
Inhabits soft sediments areas on the continental slope and abyssal plain.


Dorsal fin 14; Anal fin 10-11; Pectoral fin 16 (8 rays in lower portion); Pelvic fin 8; Lateral line scales 60-62; Branchiostegal rays 12; Gill rakers 41 (12+29), blade-like; Vertebrae 57-58.
Body slender; head moderate in length, 23-26% SL; lower jaw with medium-sized lateral pores; gular area unscaled; gill rakers bladelike. Scales deciduous.
Pectoral fins in separate upper and lower parts; 2 upper-most rays vestigial at base; rays 3 & 4 extremely elongate, about equal in length to SL, united to a point midway between the adipose fin and the caudal fin base; 5th ray immediately below & connected by membrane, much shorter; lower portion with 8-9 regular rays. Pelvic fins very elongate, longest ray 42-58% SL, base just before dorsal-fin base. Lower caudal-fin lobe much longer than upper, longest lower ray 38-46% SL; subcaudal notch absent. Adipose fin well developed.


Scales deciduous; produced fin rays of the pectoral fin (rays 3 and 4) united to a point midway between the adipose fin and the base of the caudal fin; gular area unscaled; gill rakers bladelik


Feeds on small, planktonic crustaceans and squid.


Spiderfishes (family Ipnopidae) are simultaneous hermaphrodites. Individuals have an ovotestis containing functional male and female reproductive tissue. 


Individuals prop tripod-like on their long pelvic and caudal fin rays, raising their bodies off the seafloor. They face into the current, extending their long sensory pectoral fins forward to detect the movement of zooplankton such as small crustaceans that drift by in the current. 


The species is named oddi in honour of the legendary Icelandic hero of Bandamanna Saga, Odd, a symbol of good fortune and of the Scandinavian seafaring spirit.

Species Citation

Bathypterois (Bathycygnus) oddi Sulak 1977, Galathea Report 14: 99, Pl. 6 (fig. 3). Type locality: Western Pacific, 45°51'S, 164°32'E, Galathea station 601, depth 4400 metres.


Atlas of Living Australia

Antipodean Spiderfish, Bathypterois oddi Sulak 1977


Cousins, N.J. & Priede, I.G. 2012. Abyssal demersal fish fauna composition in two contrasting productivity regions of the Crozet Plateau, Southern Indian Ocean. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 64:71-77.

Gomon, M.F. 2015. 80 Family Ipnopidae. pp. 562-565, in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 2 pp. 1-576.

Lörz, A.N., Berkenbusch, K., Nodder, S., Ahyong, S., Bowden, D., McMillan, P., Gordon, D., Mills, S. & Mackay, K. 2012. A review of deep-sea benthic biodiversity associated with trench, canyon and abyssal habitats below 1500 m depth in New Zealand waters. New Zealand Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Report No 92. 133 pp

Paxton, J.R. 2010. Bathypterois oddi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154727A4619279. Accessed on 15 October 2022.

Sulak, K.J. 1977. The systematics and biology of Bathypterois (Pisces, Chlorophthalmidae) with a revised classification of benthic myctophiform fishes. Galathea Report 14: 49-108, Pls. 1-7. See ref online (pdf)

Sulak, K.J. & Shcherbachev, Yu.N. 1988. A new species of tripodfish, Bathypterois (Bathycygnus) andriashevi (Chlorophthalmidae), from the western South Pacific Ocean. Copeia 1988(3): 653-659.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37123013


Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Depth:3400-5550 m


Max Size:23 cm SL

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