Common Bellowsfish, Macroramphosus scolopax (Linnaeus 1758)


Other Names: Common Bellows-fish, Common Snipefish, Deepbody Snipefish, Long Nosed Snipefish, Longspine Snipefish, Snipefish

A Common Bellowsfish, Macroramphosus scolopax, photographed during the Deep-sea Lebanon Expedition, October 2016. Source: Oceana Europe / Flickr. License: All rights reserved

Summary:

The Common Bellowsfish, currently considered to be the most widespread species in the family Macroramphosidae may comprise a species complex. Bellowsfish sometimes form schools of several hundred individuals, and often are washed ashore during storms.


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2020, Macroramphosus scolopax in Fishes of Australia, accessed 05 Dec 2020, http://136.154.202.208/home/species/3162

Common Bellowsfish, Macroramphosus scolopax (Linnaeus 1758)

More Info


Distribution

South of Saumarez Reef, Coral Sea, around southern Australia to southwest of Coral Bay, Western Australia, including Tasmania; also the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea and on the Norfolk Ridge. Elsewhere the species is circumglobal, mostly in temperate latitudes.

A schooling species, the Common Bellowsfish lives near the bottom on the continental shelf, upper continental slope, and oceanic seamounts at 60-500m.

Features

Dorsal fin IV-V, 11-13; Anal fin 18-20; Vertebrae 24.

Body highly compressed, elongate-oval in shape, moderately deep, body depth 28-37% SL; upper and lower profiles of body smoothly convex, almost symmetrical; tubular snout very elongate, snout length 27-30% SL, mouth tiny, at the end of long snout, teeth absent. Second dorsal-fin spine elongate, robust and serrate, spine length 30-38% SL. Body encased in armour, a bony ridge and abdominal scutes present.

Size

Although the Common Bellowsfish reaches a maximum total length of 228 mm (Atlantic Ocean, off Portugal), the species reportedly grows to 180mm in Australian waters.

Colour

Body reddish-pink to orange above, pale to silvery below, fins pink; pelagic juveniles overall silvery-blue.

Feeding

Common Bellowsfish are carnivorous predators that feed near the bottom on small bottom-dwelling invertebrates, especially crustaceans. Prey items sucked into their long snouts include crustaceans (amphipods, copepods, shrimps and small crabs), polychaete worms and foraminiferans.

Biology

Reproduction: Oviparous, sexes separate. Reproduction takes place during January and February.

Eggs: Pelagic

Larvae: Neustonic; notch in the anal region

Juveniles: Epipelagic in oceanic surface waters with a neustonic distribution until they grow to 12mm SL. Juveniles reportedly migrate vertically from surface waters during daylight hours to deeper waters at night.

Fisheries

Because of their schooling behaviour, Smooth Bellowfish are regularly taken as bycatch in many commercial trawl fisheries. This species is also traded in the aquarium industry. Bellowsfishes are food for many other fish species, including commercially important species such as John Dory (Zeus faber), catsharks, mackerels and hake.

Conservation

IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Remarks

Rather than being a single species distributed worldwide, individuals from different geographic regions may represent separate species. The genus is currently being revised.

Similar Species

Macroramphosus scolopax is most closely related to the Little Bellowsfish, Macroramphosis gracillis, which has a more slender body, a longer snout, a shorter second dorsal-fin spine and a smaller eye.

Etymology

Macroramphosus is from the Greek makros, meaning great, and rhamphos meaning beak or bill, in reference to the very long snout.

Species Citation

Balistes scolopax Linnaeus 1758, Systema Nat. 10: 329. Type locality: Mediterranean Sea.

Author

Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2020

Resources

Atlas of Living Australia

Common Bellowsfish, Macroramphosus scolopax (Linnaeus 1758)

References


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Assis, C. A. 1993. On the systematics of Macrorhamphosus scolopax (Linnaeus, 1758) and Macrorhamphosus gracilis (Lowe, 1839). II-- multivariate morphometric analysis. Arquivos do Museu Bocage Nova série 2(22): 383-402

Borges, L. 2001. A new maximum length for the Snipefish Macroramphosus scolopax. Cybium. 25(2): 191–192.

Clarke, T.A. 1984. Diet and morphological variation in snipefishes, presently recognized as Macrorhamphosus scolopax, from southeast Australia: evidence for two sexually dimorphic species. Copeia 1984(3): 595–608.

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

Ehrich, S. 1990. Macroramphosidae. pp. 656-657 in Quéro, J.-C., Hureau, J.-C., Karrer, C., Post, A. & Saldanha, L. (eds). Check-list of the Fishes of the Eastern Tropical Atlantic. Paris : UNESCO 1492 pp., 3 vols.

Forsskål, P. 1775. Descriptiones Animalium Avium, Amphibiorum, Piscium, Insectorum, Vermium; quæ in Itinere Orientali observavit Petrus Forskål. Post Mortem Auctoris edidit Carsten Niebuhr. Adjuncta est Materia Medica Kakirina atque Tabula Maris Rubri Geographica. Hauniæ : Mölleri 1-19, i-xxxiv, 164 pp., 1 map. (described as Silurus cornutus)

Fricke, R., Kulbicki, M. & Wantiez, L. 2011. Checklist of the fishes of New Caledonia, and their distribution in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (Pisces). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie) Neue Serie 4: 341-463 

Fritzsche, R.A. 2016. Macroramphosidae. pp. 2246-2248 in Carpenter, K.E. & De Angelis, N. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Eastern Central Atlantic. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. Bony Fishes Part 1 (Elopiformes to Scorpaeniformes). Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1511-2350.

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Fritzsche, R.A. & Thiesfeld, K.G. 1999. Families Aulostomidae, Fistulariidae, Macrorhamphosidae, Centriscidae. pp. 2277-2282 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. 4 pp. 2069-2790.

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93, 193-228 in Hutchings, P. (ed.) Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 pp.

Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Macroramphosidae. pp. 436-440 figs 388-390 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. 

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Macroramphosidae. pp. 480-484 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Heemstra, P.C. 1986. Macrorhamphosidae. p. 459–461. In M.M. Smith & P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Macmillian South Africa Pty Ltd.

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and Their Relatives. Chorleywood, UK : TMC Publishing 240 pp. 

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Kuranaga, I. & Sasaki, K. 2000. Larval development in a snipefish (Macroramphosus scolopax) from Japan with notes on eastern Pacific and Mediterranean Macroramphosus larvae (Gasterosteiformes, Macroramphosidae). Ichthyological Research 47(1): 101-106

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundem classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentis, synonymis, locis. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii Tomus I 824 pp. 

Matthiessen, B., Fock, H.O. & Westernhagen, H. von 2003. Evidence for two sympatric species of snipefishes Macroramphosus spp. (Syngnathiformes, Centriscidae) on Great Meteor Seamount. Helgoland Marine Research 57: 63–72 

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp. 

McCulloch, A.R. 1911. Report on the fishes obtained by the F.I.S. Endeavour on the coasts of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Part 1. Zoological (Biological) Results. Endeavour 1(1): 1-87 figs 1-20 pls 1-16 

McCulloch, A.R. 1924. Ichthyological items, No. 2. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 8(1): 61-76 figs 1-6 pls 11-14

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Mohr, E. 1937. Revision der Centriscidae (Acanthoptergii, Centrisciformes). Dana Reports 13: 1-69 figs 1-33 pls 1-2

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Ogilby, J.D. 1908. Descriptions of new Queensland fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 21: 87-98 (described as Macrorhamphosus gallinago)

Ogilby, J.D. 1910. On some new fishes from the Queensland coast. Endeavour Series No. 1 23: 85-139 (described as Macrorhamphosus lancifer and Macroramphosus robustus)

Pallas, P.S. 1770. Spicilegia Zoologica, quibus novae imprimus et obscurae animalium species iconibus, descriptionibus atque commentariis illustrantur. Berlin Tom. 1 Fasc. 8 54 pp. 5 pls. (described as Centriscus velitaris)

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Stewart, A.L. 2015. Families Syngnathidae, Aulostomidae, Fistulariidae, Macroramphosidae. pp. 1050-1072 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152. 

Waite, E.R. 1899. Scientific results of the trawling expedition of H.M.C.S. Thetis off the coast of New South Wales. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 4: 1-132 figs 1-10 pls 1-31 (described as Macrorhamphosus scolopax elevatus)

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Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37279002

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:60-500 m

Habitat:Benthopelagic, continental shelf & upper slope

Max Size:18 cm (Australia)

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map