|A large family with more than 110 species in 18 genera; 26 described species in 13 genera have been recorded from Australian waters. A number of undescribed species are known to occur in Australian waters, and the family is in need of revision.|
|Marine fishes found worldwide in cool temperate, temperate and tropical regions of all oceans, in depths ranging from shallow intertidal areas to abyssal depths of 3500 metres. Morids are most abundant on the continental slope in southern hemisphere waters. While a few morid species are pelagic, most are benthopelagic, swimming just above the seafloor. A few species occasionally enter estuaries. Most species have restricted distributions.|
|Morids are characterised by the structure of the caudal skeleton, a well-developed connection between the swim bladder and the back of the skull, and by the shape of the otolith (ear bone). They closely resemble fishes of the family Gadidae, and species are often difficult to identify to family without examining internal characters. Morids are characterised by the structure of the tail-fin skeleton, by having a well-developed connection between the swim bladder and the back of the skull, and by the shape of the otolith (ear bone). Elongate, rather soft-bodied fishes, body tapers to a narrow caudal peduncle; head rounded, mostly circular in cross section, chin barbel sometimes present. One or two (rarely three) dorsal fins, posteriormost with an elongate base, more or less divided into 2 segments, sometimes deeply notched. One to two anal fins, commencing at mid-body, long-based, similar to soft dorsal fin. Pelvic fins small, widely separated, bases forward on chest. Caudal fin small, symmetrical, separated by gap from dorsal and anal fins. Scales small, cycloid, lateral line curving smoothly above pectoral fin. Swimbladder is uniquely modified with horn-like extensions that project forward to sound receiving parts of the skull and brain.|
|To 100 cm, although most species are quite small.|
|Morids are carnivores, and feed on a variety of benthopelagic fishes, cephalopod molluscs and crustaceans.|
|Little is known of morid reproduction. Females of some species have several thousand eggs in their ovaries. Larvae of a few are well-known.|
|Morids are taken in commercial trawls, and some species are of minor commercial importance in Australian waters.|
|Some morids are bioluminescent. They have a gland-like light organ on the abdomen that harbours populations of bioluminescent bacteria. The fish can control the amount of light emitted through the lens of the light organ.|
|Dianne J. Bray|
Ambrose, D.A., 1996 Moridae: codlings. p. 500-507. In H.G. Moser (ed.) The early stages of fishes in the California Current region. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Atlas No. 33. 1505p.
Armitage, R.O., D.A. Payne, G.J. Lockley, H.M. Currie, R.L. Colban, B.G. Lamb & L.J. Paul (eds.) 1994. Guide book to New Zealand commercial fish species. Revised edition. New Zealand Fishing Industry Board, Wellington, New Zealand, 216 p.
Blaber, S.J.M. & C.M. Bulman. 1987. Diets of fishes of the upper continental slope of eastern Tasmania: content, calorific values, dietary overlap and trophic relationships. Mar. Biol. 95: 345-356.
Chiu, T.S., D.F. Markle & R. Meléndez. 1990. Moridae. p. 183-187. In Gon, O. & P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Fishes of the Southern Ocean. J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Grahamstown, South Africa.
Clark, M.R. 1985. The food and feeding of seven fish species from the Campbell Plateau, New Zealand. N. Z. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 19(3): 339-363.
Cohen, D.M. 1984. Gadiformes: overview. p. 259-265 figs 135-137. In Moser, H.G. et al. (eds). Ontogeny and Systematics of Fishes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Special Publication 1: 1-760
Cohen, D.M. 1990. Families Moridae, Muraenolepididae. pp. 346-384. In Cohen, D.M., Inada, T., Iwamoto, T. & Scialabba, N. (eds.) FAO Species Catalogue. Gadiform fishes of the world (order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 10 442 pp.
Cohen, D.M. (ed.) 1989. Papers on the systematics of gadiform fishes. Science Series. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County 32: 1-262
Coleman, N. & M. Mobley, 1984 Diets of commercially exploited fish from Bass Strait and adjacent Victorian waters, southeastern Australia. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 35(5): 549-560.
Dunlap, P.V., J.C. Ast, S. Kimura, A. Fukui, T. Yoshino & H. Endo. 2007. Phylogenetic analysis of host–symbiont specificity and codivergence in bioluminescent symbioses. Cladistics 23(5): 507-532.
Fahey, M. 1983. Guide to ichthyoplankton identification. J Northw. Atl. Fish. Sci. Vol. 4.
Gordon, J.D.M. & J.A.R. Duncan. 1985. The biology of fish of the family Moridae in the deep-water of the Rockall Trough. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U.K. 65: 475-485.
Hoese, D.F., D.J. Bray, J.R. Paxton & G.R. Allen, 2006 Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells (eds.) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia Part 1, pp. xxiv 1-670.
Iwamoto, T. 1999. Families Macrouridae, Bathylagidae, Moridae, Bregmacerotidae. pp. 1986-1998. 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 1397-2068 pp.
Kuiter, R.H., 1993 Coastal fishes of south-eastern Australia. University of Hawaii Press. Honolulu, Hawaii. 437 p.
Mauchline, J. & J.D.M. Gordon. 1984. Feeding and bathymetric distribution of the gadoid and morid fish of the Rockall Trough. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U.K. 64(3): 657-665.
May, J.L. & J.G.H. Maxwell. 1986. Trawl fish from temperate waters of Australia. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, Tasmania. 492 p.
Meléndez C., R. & D.F. Markle. 1997. Phylogeny and zoogeography of Laemonema and Guttigadus (Pisces: Gadiformes: Moridae). Bull. Mar. Sci. 61(3): 593-670.
Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.
Paulin, C.D. 1983. A revision of the family Moridae (Pisces : Anacanthini) within the New Zealand region. Records of the National Museum of New Zealand 2(9): 81-126 figs 1-27
Paulin, C.D. 1989. Review of the morid genera Gadella, Physiculus, and Salilota (Teleostei: Gadiformes) with descriptions of seven new species. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 16: 93-133
Paulin, C.D. & Roberts, C.D. 1997. Review of the morid cods (Teleostei, Paracanthopterygii, Moridae) of New Caledonia, southwest Pacific Ocean, with description of a new species of Gadella. No. 2. In Séret, B. (ed.), Résultats des Campagnes MUSORSTOM, Vol. 17. Mémoires du Muséum Nationale d'Histoire Naturelle. Paris 174: 17-41.
Shcherbachev, Y.N. 1987. Preliminary list of thalassobathyal fishes of the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian Ocean. J. Ichthyol. 27(2): 37-46.
Widder, E.A. 2010. Bioluminescence in the Ocean: Origins of Biological, Chemical, and Ecological Diversity. Science 7: 704-708.