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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

An oceanic and mesopelagic species (Ref. 4739). No indication of diel migration (Ref. 4739). Adult complement of photophores acquired at about 1.4 cm SL (Ref. 4739).
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References

Baird RC. 1971. The Systematics, Distribution, and Zoogeography of the Marine Hatchetfishes (family Sternoptychidae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zooology 142(1):1–128.

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Data on Catalog of Fishes

View data on Catalog of Fishes here.

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Type locality

Atlantic, 2°49'30"S, 9°25'30"W, depth 800–1000 meters.

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Type specimen(s)

Holotype: BMNH 1930.1.12.328 (or 329).

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Main Reference

Baird RC. 1971. The Systematics, Distribution, and Zoogeography of the Marine Hatchetfishes (family Sternoptychidae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zooology 142(1):1–128.

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Description

Dorsal-fin rays 9 (rarely 10); anal-fin rays 12–13; P. 10–11; total gill rakers 18–21; vertebrae 38–39. Giant species, often exceeding 110 mm SL; trunk triangulate, body depth at end of dorsal fewer than 3.3 times into SL; caudal peduncle deep, its depth nearly equal to subcaudal photophore length; dorsal spine high, its height greater than one-third its length; post-temporal spine prominent; postabdominal spines symmetrical; preopercle spines as in A. affinis: jaws large; teeth small, recurved, a pair of larger canine teeth in upper jaw (premaxilla); gill rakers well developed; parietals, posttemporal, frontals and sphenotics with prominent spines or flanges; in preservative pigment in small spots along midline; very heavy mucoid secretion often present.

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Distribution

Scotian shelf to the Northern Gulf of Mexico
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Eastern Atlantic: Portugal to South Africa; northern record from south Iceland (Ref. 4739). Western Atlantic: 40°N-40°S, including the Gulf of Mexico (Ref. 27768). One record from the Patagonian region of Argentina (Ref. 27363). Indian Ocean: 0°- 40°S. Eastern Pacific: 15°S-40°S. Western Pacific: 20°N-40°S.
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Although occurring in all oceans except the North Pacific, this species appears quite restricted locally. It is taken in abundance in the Gulf of Guinea, in the eastern North Atlantic off North Africa and southern Spain, in the northern Gulf of Mexico, and off Chile in the South Pacific; small catches of this species are recorded along longitude 67°E from the equator to 40°S in the Indian Ocean, across the South Pacific between 35° S and 50° S from Chile to Zealand in the South Pacific, and between New York and Cape in the North Atlantic. Additional records: 36°35'S, 95°28'E.

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Circumglobal, except northeastern Pacific.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 9 - 10; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 12 - 13
  • Weitzman, S.H. 1986 Sternoptychidae. p. 253-259. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (Ref. 4054)
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Size

Maximum size: 120 mm SL
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Max. size

12.0 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 4462))
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A large species often growing beyong 110 mm SL.

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Diagnostic Description

Dorsal blade present and well developed in front of dorsal fin (Ref. 27363). Deep body (Ref. 37473).
  • Weitzman, S.H. 1986 Sternoptychidae. p. 253-259. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (Ref. 4054)
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Supra-abdominal, preanal, anal, and subcaudal photophores in a nearly continuous in a straight line; subcaudal photophores separate, an appreciable gap between each photophore; 3 separate hypural elements in lower caudal lobe. Dorsal blade high, its height greater than one-third its length; body margin markedly raised posterior to dorsal blade; ventral keel scales extend well below abdominal photophores forming flaplike process; prominent laterally directed sphenotic spine near dorsal, posterior edge of orbit. Differs from A. affinis, the most similar species, by its broader body depth and trunk; more distinct trunk striations; relatively shorter teeth in lower jaw; more well-developed post-temporal spines; rough dorsal body surface; and more well-developed neurocranial crests (frontals, sphenotics, and parietals).

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Ecology

Habitat

Known from seamounts and knolls
  • Stocks, K. 2009. Seamounts Online: an online information system for seamount biology. Version 2009-1. World Wide Web electronic publication.
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nektonic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Occasionally found in Canadian Atlantic waters. Found at depths of 300- 650 m.
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Environment

bathypelagic; marine; depth range 300 - 1000 m (Ref. 58018), usually 400 - 600 m (Ref. 4054)
  • Weitzman, S.H. 1986 Sternoptychidae. p. 253-259. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (Ref. 4054)
  • Bogutskaya, N.G. 2007 Preliminary assignment of coordinates to type localities in the Catalog of Fishes. Unpublished dbf file. (Ref. 58018)
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Depth range based on 71 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 43 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 2587
  Temperature range (°C): 3.013 - 17.363
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.724 - 39.739
  Salinity (PPS): 34.135 - 35.575
  Oxygen (ml/l): 1.877 - 6.576
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.285 - 2.927
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.847 - 58.799

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 2587

Temperature range (°C): 3.013 - 17.363

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.724 - 39.739

Salinity (PPS): 34.135 - 35.575

Oxygen (ml/l): 1.877 - 6.576

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.285 - 2.927

Silicate (umol/l): 1.847 - 58.799
 
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Concentrated between 400 m and 600 m; no indication of diurnal vertical movement or marked geographic variation in depth distribution.

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Depth: 300 - 650m.
From 300 to 650 meters.

Habitat: bathypelagic. Mesopelagic, mainly in 400-600 m (Ref. 4054). No indication of diurnal migration. Dioecious, adult complement of photophores acquired at about 1.4 cm SL (Ref. 4739).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Argyropelecus gigas

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Argyropelecus gigas

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 22
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: of no interest
  • Weitzman, S.H. 1986 Sternoptychidae. p. 253-259. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (Ref. 4054)
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Wikipedia

Giant hatchetfish

The Giant Hatchetfish or Greater Silver Hatchetfish (Argyropelecus gigas) a marine hatchetfish of the genus Argyropelecus, is found in every ocean except the north Pacific in the mesopelagic zone of tropical and subtropical waters. "Giant" in relative terms only, this is the largest species of marine hatchetfishes, often exceeding 110 millimetres (4.3 in) standard length.[1]

References

  1. ^ Baird, R. C. (1971). "The systematics, distribution, and zoogeography of the marine hatchetfishes (family Sternoptychidae)". Bulletin of The Museum of Comparative Zoology 142: 1–128.
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