Animal Species:Swallowers, Pseudoscopelus spp.

Deepsea fishes in the family Chiasmodontidae are often called "swallowers", because of their ability to swallow fishes larger than themselves.

Swallower, Pseudoscopelus sp.

Ken Graham © Ken Graham NSWFRI

Standard Common Name

Swallowers

Identification

The ability to swallow large prey is made possible because swallowers have large mouths which are capable of being opened very wide, and very elastic bodies and stomachs which can be greatly distended.

The family Chiasmodontidae contains eleven species in four genera; Chiasmodon, Dysalotus, Kali and Pseudoscopelus. Three species of Pseudoscopelus are recorded from Australian waters, P.altipinnis, P.scriptus and P.stellatus.

Fishes in the genus Pseudoscopelus can be separated from the other three genera in the family Chiasmodontidae by the presence of photophores.

Distribution

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.

Pseudoscopelus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Swallowers specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Classification

Species:
spp
Genus:
Pseudoscopelus
Family:
Chiasmodontidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  2. Johnson, R.K. & M.J. Keene. 1986. Family No. 228: Chiasmodontidae (pp. 731-735). in Smith, M.M. & P.C. Heemstra. (eds.) 1986. Smiths' Sea Fishes. Macmillan South Africa, Johannesburg. i-xx + 1-1047, Pls. 1-144.
  3. Nakabo, T., Yamada, U. & M. Aizawa. 1992. New Record of Pseudoscopelus scutatus (Chiasmodontidae) from Japan. UO. 41:19-23.
  4. Wheeler, A. 1975. Fishes of the World. An Illustrated Dictionary. Ferndale Editions. Pp.366.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Swallowers, Pseudoscopelus spp, Chiasmodontidae, marine, black, big mouth,