PORT PHILLIP BAY


Frostfish 

Lepidopus caudatus (Euphrasen, 1788)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: VII-X, 90-100
Anal fin spines/rays: I; I, 59-66
Caudal fin rays: 18-20
Pectoral fin rays: 12
Ventral fin spines/rays: I, 1

Interpreting fin count meristics.
Spines are in Roman numerals and soft rays are in Arabic numerals. Spines and rays that are continuous in one fin are separated by a comma. Fin sections are separated by semicolons.

Detailed descriptions of fin count and other meristics are in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
A large and highly diverse group of modern bony fishes many of which have a generalized perch like body form. Most have pelvic fins with one spine and 5 rays and the maxillary bone is excluded from the gape of the mouth. Interrelationships of the group are poorly understood and continue to be studied. They inhabit almost all aquatic habitats from high-altitude strams to the deep sea, although most are marine.

Family level detail.
Predatory fishes with a very elongate, highly compressed ribbon like body tapering to a long thin point, or to narrow tail base with a small forked tail; a single very long-based dorsal fin; head and jaws elongate, teeth prominent and sharp; a single nostril only, on either side of head; pelvic fins absent or, at most, small; scales absent.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Perciformes
Family:
Trichiuridae
Genus:
Lepidopus
Species:
caudatus

General Description

Body very long, shallow, tapering to an extremely narrow tail base; dorsal fin continuous, long-based, without a notch; tips of jaws usually with a short cartilaginous knob; tail small, forked; pectoral fin moderate, tip pointed; pelvic fins present, though very small. Silvery; dorsal fin with a black blotch at beginning of soft-rayed portion; nape occasionally with black blotch. To 2 m.

Biology

These fishes are thought to become disoriented near shore on cold frosty nights, resulting in occasional strandings, and thus the common name.

Habitat

Offshore, occasionally entering inshore waters, and sometimes found stranded ashore, in depths of 9-400 m.

Open water

Distribution guide

Pacific and eastern Atlantic oceans. Southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Hairtails

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

2 m

Commercial Species

Yes

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Frostfish, Lepidopus caudatus, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 29 Jun 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6413

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