Olfer's Hatchetfish, Argyropelecus olfersii (Cuvier 1829)

Other Names: Silver Hatchetfish

A Silver Hatchetfish, Argyropelecus olfersii, collected from the Norfolk Ridge in the Tasman Sea, May 2003. Source: NORFANZ Founding Parties. License: All rights reserved

A silvery hatchetfish with black pigment along the dorsal surface and surrounding the lower photophores. Recorded from the Norfolk Ridge, north of Norfolk Island, just inside Australia's EEZ.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Argyropelecus olfersii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/5369

Olfer's Hatchetfish, Argyropelecus olfersii (Cuvier 1829)

More Info


Norfolk Ridge, north of Norfolk Island, inside AUS EEZ. Elsewhere the species occurs worldwide at mesopelagic depths, undertaking moderate vertical diurnal migrations: usually 800-900 m during the day, and 200-450 m at night.


Dorsal fin 9; Anal fin 12; Gill rakers 15-17; Vertebrae 36-38.
Lower jaw with large pair of canine teeth; anteriormost iliac spine sharply pointed, curved markedly and evenly forward; lower opercular spine downward and curved forward; upper opercular spine short, directed outward; ventral line of abdominal keel usually with a concave notch in front of anterior post-abdominal spine.
Photophores: PV 12; VAV 4; AC 6 + 4; OV, VAV, ACB & ACC photophores in distinct compact clusters, not in a straight or continuous line; distance between ACB % ACC groups less than width of last 2.5-3 ACB photophores.

Similar Species

Differs from other species in the genus Argyropelecus in having the following combination of characters: enlarged canines on the dentary, a pair of smooth, about or nearly equal-sized postabdominal spines, dorsal blade height 10.5-13.3% postorbital body length, and in lacking spines below the ACC photophores.

Species Citation

Sternoptyx olfersii Cuvier 1829, Le Règne Animal (Ed. 2) 2: 316, Pl. 13 (fig. 2). Type locality: Atlantic southeast of Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Bray, D.J. 2017

Olfer's Hatchetfish, Argyropelecus olfersii (Cuvier 1829)


Cuvier, G. 1829. Le Règne Animal, distribué d'après son organisation, pour servir de base à l'histoire naturelle des animaux et d'introduction à l'anatomie comparée. Paris : Déterville Vol. 2, Edn 2, i-xv + pp. 1-406.

Harold, A.S. 1999. Families Gonostomatidae, Sternoptychidae, Phosichthyidae, Astronesthidae, Stomiidae, Chauliodontidae, Melanostomiidae, Idiacanthidae, Malacosteidae. pp. 1896-1917 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Harold, A.S., Stewart, A.L. & Roberts, C.D. 2015. 67 Family Sternoptychidae, pp. 446-468, in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 2 pp. 1-576.

Quick Facts

Behaviour:Migrates vertically


Depth:250-900 m


Max Size:9 cm TL

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