Black Snake Mackerel, Nealotus tripes Johnson 1865

A Black Snake Mackerel, Nealotus tripes, from off Fogo Island, Cape Verde Islands, Atlantic Ocean. Source: Kimberly Wieber / Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes . License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike


Little is known of the biology of the Black Snake Mackerel, one of the smallest members of the family Gempylidae.

Cite this page as:
Schultz, S., Nealotus tripes in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jul 2024,

Black Snake Mackerel, Nealotus tripes Johnson 1865

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from surface to 600 m


Cosmopolitan distribution, found in all tropical, sub-tropical and temperate marine waters. In Australia, this species has disjunct distribution, ranging along the west coast from the Houtman Abrolhos Islands (WA) to Bathurst Island (NT), and along the east coast from Raine Island (QLD) to Batemans Bay (NSW).


D XX-XXI,  0, 0,  16-19; A II,  15-19; P 13-14.

Pelvic fins reduced to single spine. Second dorsal and anal fins followed by two finlets. Body elongate and compressed. Body depth 7-9 times into standard length. Head length 4 times into standard length. Lower jaw protrudes, both jaws without dermal processes. Three pairs of rigid, and 0-3 pairs of depressible fang-like teeth in upper jaw, One pair of fang-like teeth in lower jaw. Lateral line single, reasonably straight. Scales large, easily dislodged.


To 25 cm SL.


Body black-brown, dorsal and anal fin pale brown. Buccal and branchial cavities black.


Known to feed on myctophids (lanternfishes), as well as other fishes, cephalopods and crustaceans.


Matures at 15 cm (SL).


Of no interest to fisheries.



Species Citation

Nealotus tripes Johnson 1865, Proceedings of the General Meetings for Scientific Business of the Zoological Society of London 1865 (pt 2):434, Madeira.


Schultz, S.

Black Snake Mackerel, Nealotus tripes Johnson 1865


Carpenter, K.E.; Niem, V.H. (eds). FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 6. Bony fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles, sea turtles, sea snakes and marine mammals. Rome, FAO. 2001. pp. 3381-4218.

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. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.

Nakamura, I. and N. V. Parin. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 15. Snake mackerels and cutlassfishes of the world (Families Gempylidae and Trichiuridae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the snake mackerels, snoeks, escolars, gemfishes, sackfishes, domine, oilfish,cutlassfishes, scabbardfishes, hairtails, and frostfishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopis. No. 125, Vol. 15. 1993. 136 p., 200 figs.

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CAAB Code:37439011

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