Animal Species:Snake Mackerel, Gempylus serpens Cuvier, 1829

The Snake Mackerel has 5 to 7 dorsal and anal finlets and a lateral line that branches at the upper edge of the operculum. It occurs worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters.

Snake Mackerel, Gempylus serpens

Carl Bento © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Snake Mackerel

Identification

The Snake Mackerel is a member of the fish family Gempylidae. This family also contains the gemfishes, escolars, Oilfish and snoeks. Fishes in this family are generally long and slender, have strong teeth (which are often fang-like), two dorsal fins, and a forked caudal fin.

The species has 5 to 7 dorsal and anal finlets and a lateral line that branches at the upper edge of the operculum.

Size range

It grows to 1 m in length.

Distribution

The Snake Mackerel occurs worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Gempylus serpens

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Snake Mackerel specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

It has been recorded from the surface to a depth of at least 200 m.

Feeding and Diet

The species feeds on fishes, squids and crustaceans.

Classification

Species:
serpens
Genus:
Gempylus
Family:
Gempylidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Nakamura, I & N.V. Parin. 1993. Snake Mackerels and Cutlassfishes of the World. An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of the Snake Mackerels, Snoeks, Escolars, Gemfishes, Sackfishes, Domine, Oilfish, Cutlassfishes, Scabbardfishes, Hairtails and Frostfishes Known to Date. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 15. FAO. Rome. Pp. 136.
  2. Nakamura, I. & N.V. Parin. 2001 Gempylidae. Snake mackerels. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 6. Bony Fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles, sea turtles, sea snakes and marine mammals. FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-v, 3381-4218.
  3. Stewart, A & C. Roberts. 1999. Identification of tuna longline bycatch: Snake Mackerel, Escolar and Oilfish. Seafood New Zealand. 17(5):82-84.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Snake Mackerel, Gempylus serpens, Gempylidae, black, blue, long and skinny, 30 cm - 1 m, countershaded, no pattern, marine, adult, large teeth,