Comprehensive Description

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Regalecus glesne, known by the fanciful name of "king of herrings" or the more stoic "oarfish", is the longest of the Teleost fish, reaching an average length of 5-8m and a record of 17m. (Paxton and Eschmeyer, 1998) It has a long, ribbonlike body with a red dorsal fin running its entire length (Robins and Ray, 1986). The dorsal fin is longest in front, making a cockscomb on the head (Eschmeyer and Herald, 1983). It has 260-412 fin rays (Nelson, 2006). The pelvic fins are long and slender, only containing one fin ray, with an oarlike membrane at the tip (Robins and Ray, 1986). These rays are possibly used for taste (Paxton and Eschmeyer, 1998). The body tapers to a tiny caudal fin which is entirely lost in some specimens (Eschmeyer and Herald, 1983). It has 143-170 vertebrae (Nelson, 2006). There is no anal fin, and no scales (Nelson, 2006). The skin is covered with tubercles (Robins and Ray, 1986). R. glesne has small eyes, no teeth, and no swim bladder (Nelson, 2006). The body is gray to silvery with varied black markings and red fins (Robins and Ray, 1986; Eschmeyer and Herald, 1983).


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