Ecology

Habitat

Mesopelagic
  • Census of Marine Zooplankton, 2006. NOAA Ship Ronald H Brown, deployment RHB0603, Sargasso Sea. Peter Wiebe, PI. Identifications by L. Bercial, N. Copley, A. Cornils, L. Devi, H. Hansen, R. Hopcroft, M. Kuriyama, H. Matsuura, D. Lindsay, L. Madin, F. Pagè
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Epipelagic
  • Census of Marine Zooplankton, 2006. NOAA Ship Ronald H Brown, deployment RHB0603, Sargasso Sea. Peter Wiebe, PI. Identifications by L. Bercial, N. Copley, A. Cornils, L. Devi, H. Hansen, R. Hopcroft, M. Kuriyama, H. Matsuura, D. Lindsay, L. Madin, F. Pagè
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Depth range based on 5693 specimens in 3 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 5583 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 4700
  Temperature range (°C): 1.478 - 22.097
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.828 - 41.918
  Salinity (PPS): 31.906 - 36.583
  Oxygen (ml/l): 1.559 - 7.340
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.058 - 2.917
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.892 - 133.284

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 4700

Temperature range (°C): 1.478 - 22.097

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.828 - 41.918

Salinity (PPS): 31.906 - 36.583

Oxygen (ml/l): 1.559 - 7.340

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.058 - 2.917

Silicate (umol/l): 0.892 - 133.284
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Associations

Known predators

Alepisaurus (lancetfish) is prey of:
Thunninae
Istiophoridae
Chondrichthyes

Based on studies in:
unknown (epipelagic zone, Tropical)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • N. V. Parin, Ichthyofauna of the Epipelagic Zone (Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Jerusalem, 1970; U.S. Department of Commerce Clearinghouse for Federal Scientific and Technical Information, Springfield, VA 22151), from p. 154.
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Known prey organisms

Alepisaurus (lancetfish) preys on:
Actinopterygii
Hyperiidae
Gempylus serpens
Cephalopoda

Based on studies in:
unknown (epipelagic zone, Tropical)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • N. V. Parin, Ichthyofauna of the Epipelagic Zone (Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Jerusalem, 1970; U.S. Department of Commerce Clearinghouse for Federal Scientific and Technical Information, Springfield, VA 22151), from p. 154.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:30Public Records:6
Specimens with Sequences:18Public Species:2
Specimens with Barcodes:18Public BINs:2
Species:2         
Species With Barcodes:2         
          
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Barcode data

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Alepisaurus

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Wikipedia

Lancetfish

For the United States Navy submarine, see USS Lancetfish (SS-296)

Lancetfishes are large oceanic predatory fishes in the genus Alepisaurus ("scaleless lizard"), the only living genus in the family Alepisauridae.[2]

Lancetfishes grow up to 2 m (6.6 ft) in length. Very little is known about their biology, though they are widely distributed in all oceans, except the polar seas.[3] Specimens have been recorded as far north as Greenland.[4] They are often caught as bycatch for vessels long-lining for tuna.

The generic name is from Greek a- meaning "without", lepis meaning "scale", and sauros meaning "lizard".

Species[edit]

The currently recognized species in this genus are: [5]

The main difference between the two is the shape of the snout, which is long and pointed in A. ferox, and slightly shorter in A. brevirostris.

Description[edit]

A lancetfishes possesses a long and very high dorsal fin, soft-rayed from end to end, with an adipose fin behind it. The dorsal fin has 41 to 44 rays and occupies the greater length of the back. This fin is rounded in outline, about twice as high as the fish is deep, and can be depressed into a groove along the back. The body is slender, flattened from side to side, deepest at the gill covers, and tapers back to a slender caudal peduncle.

The mouth is wide, gaping to the back of the eye, and each jaw has two or three large, fang-like teeth, in addition to numerous smaller teeth. The caudal fin is very deeply forked; its upper lobe is prolonged as a long filament, although most lancetfishes seem to lose this when captured. The anal fin originates under the last dorsal ray, and is deeply concave in outline. The ventral fins are about halfway between the anal fin and the tip of the snout, while the pectoral fins are considerably longer than the body is deep and are situated very low down on the sides. No scales are present, and the fins are very fragile.

Ecology[edit]

A lancetfish model in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Lancetfish have large mouths and sharp teeth, indicating a predatory mode of life. Their watery muscle is not suited to fast swimming and long pursuit, so they likely are ambush predators, using their narrow body profile and silvery colouration to conceal their presence, then use their large dorsal fin to generate large acceleration, and large mouth and teeth to engulf prey before it can escape. That said, stomach content studies have revealed they feed mainly upon planktonic crustaceans, squid, and salps, as well as other fish. They have also been shown to be cannibalistic. They are preyed upon by opah, sharks, albacore, yellowfin tuna, and fur seals.

No commercial fisheries exist for lancetfishes. Their flesh is watery and gelatinous, and although edible, would prove difficult to use. They are caught as bycatch by tuna fisheries, and are seen as pests, taking bait intended for more valuable species. Anecdotal evidence suggesting they have an aphrodisiac effect is likely to be an urban myth.

The tetraphyllidean tapeworm Pelichnibothrium speciosum is a significant parasite of long-snouted lancetfish. The species seems to be an intermediate or paratenic host for the tapeworm. [6]

Reproduction[edit]

The reproductive system of lancetfish is something of a mystery. The gonads of adolescents have been shown to be hermaphroditic, although no evidence of functional hermaphroditism is seen in adults. They are oviparous.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sepkoski, J. (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology 364. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Alepisauridae" in FishBase. February 2006 version.
  3. ^ Kubota, T.; Uyeno, T. (1978). "On some meristic characters of lancetfish, Alepisaurus, collected from Suruga Bay, Japan". Journal of Faculty of Marine Science and Technology, Tokai University 11: 63–69. 
  4. ^ Jensen, A. S. (1948). Contributions to the Ichthyofauna of Greenland. Skrifter Univ. Zool. Mus. Københaven 9. pp. 1–182. OCLC 83357750. 
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). Species of Alepisaurus in FishBase. February 2012 version.
  6. ^ Scholz, T.; Euzet, L.; Moravec, F. (1998). "Taxonomic status of Pelichnibothrium speciosum Monticelli, 1889 (Cestoda: Tetraphyllidea), a mysterious parasite of Alepisaurus ferox Lowe (Teleostei: Alepisauridae) and Prionace glauca (L.) (Euselachii: Carcharinidae)". Systematic Parasitology 41 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1023/A:1006091102174. 


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