Black Snoek, Thyrsitoides marleyi Fowler 1929

Other Names: Blacksail Snake Mackerel

A Black Snoek, Thyrsitoides marleyi, from off Lord Howe Island, December 2019, depth ~300m. Source: lhimarinepark / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A dark metallic brown snake mackerel, becoming paler below, with black markings on the first dorsal fin membrane. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Schultz, S. 2020, Thyrsitoides marleyi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Apr 2024,

Black Snoek, Thyrsitoides marleyi Fowler 1929

More Info


Off Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia, to the Arafura Sea, Northern Territory, and off eastern Australia from off Ballina to off eastern Tasmania; also off Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west-central Pacific: Red Sea, East Africa, South Africa, Comores and western Mascarenes east to the Hawaiian Islands and Vanuatu, north to southern Japan, south to New South Wales (Australia), New Caledonia and New Zealand region. 

Mesobenthopelagic to depths of 400 m or greater.


Dorsal fin XVIII-XIX, 0, I, 16-17; Anal fin I, 16-17; Pectoral fin I, 13-14; Pelvic fin I, 5.

Body greatly elongate, compressed. Body depth 8.3-10.5 times in SL (standard length); head length 3.8-4.1 in SL; lower jaw protruding, a conical cartilaginous process on tips of both jaws; three pairs of fang-like teeth in upper jaw; one pair of smaller, fang-like teeth in lower jaw; palatine teeth present. 

Pelvic fins well-developed; keels absent from caudal peduncle; rear of soft dorsal and anal-fin rays finlet-like.

Two lateral lines, upper running along the back, the lower originating below fourth dorsal-fin spine & running mid-laterally. 

Body covered in small, thin cycloid scales.


Body dark brown with metallic tones, paler on belly. Fins devoid of marking with the exception of black markings on the first dorsal fin membrane.


This deepwater predator feeds on mesopelagic fishes, cephalopods and crustaceans.



Of no particular interest to fisheries.


Species Citation

Thyrsitoides marleyi Fowler1929, Ann. Natal Mus. 6(2): 256, Fig. 2. Type locality: Natal, South Africa.


Bray, D.J. & Schultz, S. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Black Snoek, Thyrsitoides marleyi Fowler 1929


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.

Fowler, H.W. 1929. New and little known fishes from the Natal coast. Annals of the Natal Museum 6(2): 245-264 

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. 

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293

Nakamura, I. & Parin, N.V. 1993. FAO Species Catalogue. 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. Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 15. Rome : FAO 136 pp. 200 figs.

Nakamura, I. & Parin, N.V. 2001. Gempylidae, Trichiuridae. pp. 3698-3720 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Stewart, A.L. 2015. 230 Family Gempylidae, pp. 1602-1615 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748.

Young, J.W., Lamb, T.D. & Bradford, R.W. 1996. Distribution and community structure of midwater fishes in relation to the subtropical convergence off eastern Tasmania, Australia. Marine Biology 126(4): 571-584.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37439016

Depth:0-400 m

Habitat:Epipelagic, mesopelagic

Max Size:150 cm TL

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