Black Gemfish, Nesiarchus nasutus Johnson 1862

A Black Gemfish, Nesiarchus nasutus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-Noncommercial


Little is known about the biology or habits of the Black Gemfish.

Cite this page as:
Schultz, S., Nesiarchus nasutus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 May 2024,

Black Gemfish, Nesiarchus nasutus Johnson 1862

More Info


from 200 to 1200 m


Cosmopolitan distribution, found in tropical and sub-tropical areas, but also ranges into cold-temperate waters as an adult. An oceanic species, bentho- and mesopelagic as adults, found on the continental slope and sea mounts in depths of 200 to 1200 m. Juveniles epi- and mesopelagic.


D XIX-XXI, 0, I, 19-24; A II, 19-21; P 12-14.

Pelvic fins small with one spine and five soft rays. Body elongate and strongly compressed. Body depth 10-13 times into standard length. Head length 4.2-4.6 times into standard length. Lower jaw protrudes, both jaws with large, each with a conical dermal process. 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.


To at least 130 cm, but more commonly seen between 30 and 80 cm.


Dark brown body, fin membranes black. Anal margin black.


Feeds on fishes, cephalopods and crustaceans.


Larvae of this species are found mainly in tropical waters, so presumably spawning takes place in tropical areas.


Of no interest to fisheries.




From the Latin, nasutus meaning "long-nosed" in reference to the prominent dermal process at the tip of each jaw.

Species Citation

Nesiarchus nasutus Johnson 1862, Proceedings of the General Meetings for Scientific Business of the Zoological Society of London 1862 (pt 2):173, Pl. 22, Madeira.


Schultz, S.

Black Gemfish, Nesiarchus nasutus Johnson 1862


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:37439012

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