Alepisaurus ferox

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Alepisaurus ferox
Alepisaurus ferox on deck.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Aulopiformes
Family: Alepisauridae
Genus: Alepisaurus
Species: A. ferox
Binomial name
Alepisaurus ferox
R. T. Lowe, 1833[2]

Alepisaurus ferox, the long snouted lancetfish,[3] longnose lancetfish,[3] or cannibal fish,[4][5] is a species of lancetfish found in the ocean depths down to 1,830 m (6,000 ft). This species grows to 215 cm (85 in) in total length and a weight of 9 kg (20 lb). They are sometimes taken as by-catch in tuna long-line fisheries, but are not a targeted species.[6]

It is often called the cannibal fish because numerous individuals have been caught after having devoured other lancetfish.[4]

Habitat and distribution[edit]

It lives in deep-water oceans in the Western and Eastern Pacific from the Aleutian Islands to Chile and the Western Atlantic from the Gulf of Maine to the Gulf of Mexico, including the Caribbean Sea, and the Eastern Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Northwest Atlantic, and the China Sea.[3]


The dorsal fin of A. ferox has about three rays beginning with the third or fourth ray being strongly exerted. It is known to have a large mouth with two fangs. It is generally pale, iridescent, dark around the dorsal fin, and all of its fins are either dark brown or black.[3]

The fish are synchronous hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive parts at the same time.[6]


  1. ^ NatureServe (2013). "Alepisaurus ferox". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Alepisaurus ferox" in FishBase. February 2012 version.
  3. ^ a b c d "Alepisaurus ferox Lowe, 1833". FishBase. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Lallanilla, Marc (19 May 2014). "Scary Fanged Cannibal Fish Washes Ashore". Discovery Channel. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Docksai, Rick (19 May 2014). "Cannibal fish washes ashore in Nags Head, North Carolina". Science Recorder. Archived from the original on 20 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Bray, Dianne. "Longnose Lancetfish, Alepisaurus ferox". Fishes of Australia. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 

See also[edit]


  • Jantz L, Morishige C, Bruland G, Lepczyk C (2013) Ingestion of plastic marine debris by longnose lancetfish (Alepisaurus ferox) in the North Pacific Ocean. Mar Poll Bull 69:97–104. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.01.019