Tucker's Frostfish, Benthodesmus tuckeri Parin & Becker 1970

Tucker's Frostfish, Benthodesmus tuckeri, from the Tasman Sea. Source: NORFANZ Founding Parties. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A silvery frostfish with blackish jaws and opercle, and black inside the mouth and gill cavities. The pelvic fins are inserted before the anterior end of the pectoral-fin base, all anal fin-rays are visible externally, the anus is located under 5th-7th soft dorsal-fin ray, and the eye is of moderate size.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Benthodesmus tuckeri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Dec 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2559

Tucker's Frostfish, Benthodesmus tuckeri Parin & Becker 1970

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juveniles mesopelagic

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Body is silvery, jaws and opercle blackish. Inside of mouth and gill cavities black.


Off New South Wales, and on the Norfolk Ridge in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical and subtropical, Indo-west Pacific, including New Zealand.


Dorsal fin XXXIX-XLIV, 88-96; Anal fin II, 76-83; Pectoral fin 12; Gill rakers 4 + 1 + 7-8 = 12-13.Vertebrae 133-142. 
Body extremely elongate and compressed. Pelvic fins diminutive, composed of a scale-like spine and a rudimentary soft ray.
Preanal distance 42.1-44.0% SL; predorsal distance 10.4-11.5% SL; snout-vent distance 40.5-42.4% SL,   head 12.8-13.5% SL; body depth 3.3-5.2% SL; caudal peduncle depth 0.2-0.3% SL; spinous dorsal-fin base length 26.2-28.1% SL; soft dorsal-fin base length 58.6-50.2. Interorbital width 8.4-11.0 % HL, eye diameter 11.0-12.1% SL, snout length 46.4-49.4% HL; maxillary 36.0-38.8% HL; body depth 24.7-41.0% HL, caudal peduncle depth 1.7-2.0% HL.   
Vent located under fifth soft dorsal ray (under soft ray 5-7), base of jointed anal spines under soft dorsal-fin rays 8-11. Pelvic fins in the form of flattened dagger-like spines inserted before anterior end of pectoral fin base. External anal-fin rays developed along entire anal-fin base. 
Two widely spaced fixed fangs near tip of snout on both sides of upper jaw, depressible fangs absent (one or two depressible fangs located near posterior fixed fangs). A lateral row of 3+ very small teeth outside of anterior fangs and about 6-10 larger compressed teeth behind them. On lower jaw a short fixed fang anteriorly and 6-11 teeth behind it. A single series of 8-11 small teeth on  palatines. 

Species Citation

Benthodesmus tuckeri Parin, N.V. & Becker, V.E. 1970. Materials for a revision of the trichiuroid fishes of the genus Benthodesmus, with the description of four new species and one new subspecies. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 83(33): 351-364 figs 1-2 [359, fig. 2c]. Type data: Holotype USNM 98822, off Sombrero Island, Philippine Islands [13°45'N, 120°46'E]. 


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Tucker's Frostfish, Benthodesmus tuckeri Parin & Becker 1970


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. 

Parin, N.V. & Becker, V.E. 1970. Materials for a revision of the trichiuroid fishes of the genus Benthodesmus, with the description of four new species and one new subspecies. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington83(33): 351-364 figs 1-2 See ref at BHL

Stewart, A.L. 2015. 231 Family Trichiuridae, pp. 1616-1622 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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37440011

Depth:500-938 m

Habitat:Benthopelagic, continental slope

Max weight:77 cm SL

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