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Author: Lowe, 1833

Alepisaurus ferox Lowe, 1833

Diagnosis: body long and slender, its depth 10 times or more in SL. Head about 6 times or less in SL; snout long, about 2 1/2 times in head and more than twice eye diameter. Mouth large, with small teeth on jaws but some larger canines on lower jaw; a row of moderate canines and two erect fangs on palatines. Dorsal fin high, sail-like, with 39-42 finrays, the anterior ones low, followed by several elongate finrays with free tips, the dorsal fin origin over gill opening; pectoral finrays 14-15; pelvic finrays 8-10; anal finrays 15-17. No scales on body. Colour: generally rather pale, iridescent, back darkest; keel on hind part of body black; fins dark brown or black. Size: to about 2 m.

Habitat: pelagic, from near surface to below 1,000 m, sometimes approaching inshore waters; swift swimmers. Food: carnivorous on fishes, cephalopods, tunicates and crustaceans. Reproduction: gonads of adolescents are hermaphroditic, but there is no proof that the species is a functional hermaphrodite; little is known of spawning areas, but young specimens have been taken off Bermuda.

Distribution: northward to southern Portugal and from Iceland to the Faroes, also Mediterranean (Sicily occasionally). Elsewhere, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico; probably also South Atlantic and Pacific, but no specific identifications.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Maul, 1946: 55, fig. 20 | Rofen, 1966: 474-476, fig. 170-171 (series of Alepisaurus sp. from off Bermuda measuring 6.9-17.2 mm) | Haedrich, 1964: 1-15, 2 fig.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

Lancet-fish (Alepisaurus ferox)