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.
Standard Common Name
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.
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.
Distribution by collection data
- 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.
- 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.
- Nakabo, T., Yamada, U. & M. Aizawa. 1992. New Record of Pseudoscopelus scutatus (Chiasmodontidae) from Japan. UO. 41:19-23.
- Wheeler, A. 1975. Fishes of the World. An Illustrated Dictionary. Ferndale Editions. Pp.366.
Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow