Swallower, <i>Pseudoscopelus sp.</i> Click to enlarge image
A swallower caught at a depth of 550m (water depth 3300m) east of Kiama, New South Wales, 03 November 1977. The specimen is registered in the Australian Museum fish collection (I.20071-004). Image: Ken Graham
© NSW DPI

Fast Facts

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

Introduction

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

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, Kaliand 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.



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.