Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    serpens
    Genus
    Gempylus
    Family
    Gempylidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to 1 m in length.

Introduction

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.

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.

Habitat

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

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

Ozcam map of Snake Mackerel specimens in the Australian Museum. http://ozcam.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=Gempylus%20serpens&zoom=off#mapView

Feeding and diet

The species feeds on fishes, squids and crustaceans.

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.