A cuskeel, Barathrites sp Click to enlarge image
A cuskeel, Barathrites sp collected in April 1989 by staff of the Australian Museum Fish Section working on board the H.M.A.S Cook. It was caught in a midwater trawl at a depth of 3300 m (bottom depth 3490 m to 4840 m) in the Tasman Sea off Sydney, New South Wales. Image: Australian Museum
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    sp
    Genus
    Barathrites
    Family
    Ophidiidae
    Order
    Ophidiiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia

Introduction

The specimen of Barathrites sp was collected in April 1989 by staff of the Australian Museum Fish Section working on board the H.M.A.S Cook. It was caught in a midwater trawl at a depth of 3300 m (bottom depth 3490 m to 4840 m) in the Tasman Sea off Sydney, New South Wales. It is currently registered in the Fish Collection of the Australian Museum (AMS I.28746-002). The semi-circular mark on the side of the body is a tag recording the registration number of the specimen.

Identification

The genus Barathrites is classified in the family Ophidiidae (the cuskeels). These fishes are mostly elongate, have smooth scales, and are oviparous (egg-laying). Their pelvic fins are reduced to one or two rays or absent. The single dorsal fin is usually continuous with the caudal and anal fins.

The family Ophidiidae contains about 165 species in 50 genera. Many live in the deepsea, and include the deepest living fish known, Abyssobrotula galatheae. This fish grows to about 20 cm in length, and has been recorded from 8370 m in the Puerto Rico Trench.

Distribution

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



References

  1. Cohen, D.M. & J.G. Nielsen. 1978. Guide to the Identification of Genera of the Fish Order Ophidiiformes With a tentative classification of the Order. Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv. Tech. Rept. 417: 1-72, figs 1-103.
  2. Nielsen, J.G. in Paxton, J.R. & W.N. Eschmeyer (Eds). 1994. Encyclopedia of Fishes. Sydney: New South Wales University Press; San Diego: Academic Press [1995]. Pp. 240.