What is the longest bony fish?

The Oarfish is reported to be the longest bony fish. It has a ribbon-like body that has been reliably documented to grow to 8 m in length, however specimens up to 17 m in length have been reported.

Oarfish found on the surface

G. Musil © G. Musil

Oarfish, Regalecus glesne, are a metallic silver in colour, with blotches and wavy markings on the body, and pink or red fins. They have a concave head profile, a highly protrusible mouth (a characteristic of the order Lampridiformes), a dorsal fin that runs the entire length of the body.  It lacks an anal fin. Oarfish have tiny spines projecting laterally off each caudal and pelvic fin ray.

The species is found worldwide in all tropical and temperate marine waters. It is thought to live at depths between 20 m and 200 m.

Oarfish feed on invertebrates and fishes.

People most often see Oarfish washed up on beaches. Encounters with live Oarfish are rare. They are sometimes seen on the surface, and this may contribute to tales of sea serpents.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
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Tags fishes, ichthyology, FAQ, longest, bony, fish, oarfish, Regalecus glesne, Regalecidae,