Trichiurus lepturus  Linnaeus, 1758

Largehead hairtail
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Trichiurus lepturus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Trichiurus lepturus (Largehead hairtail)
Trichiurus lepturus
Picture by Flescher, D.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Trichiuridae (Cutlassfishes) > Trichiurinae
Etymology: Trichiurus: Greek, thrix = hair + Greek, oura = tail (Ref. 45335).   More on author: Linnaeus.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; brackish; benthopelagic; amphidromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 589 m (Ref. 58018), usually 100 - 350 m (Ref. 35388).   Subtropical; 49°N - 54°S, 114°W - 180°E (Ref. 54931)

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 46.3, range 30 - 99 cm
Max length : 234 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 26340); common length : 100.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 26999); max. published weight: 5.0 kg (Ref. ); max. reported age: 15 years (Ref. 7142)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 3; Dorsal soft rays (total): 130-135; Anal soft rays: 100 - 105. Body extremely elongate, compressed and tapering to a point. Mouth large with a dermal process at the tip of each jaw. Dorsal fin relatively high; anal fin reduced to minute spinules usually embedded in the skin or slightly breaking through; anterior margin of pectoral fin spine not serrated. Pelvic and caudal fins absent. Lateral line beginning at the upper margin of the gill cover, running oblique to behind the tip of the pectoral fins, then straight close to the ventral contour. Fresh specimens steely blue with silvery reflections, becoming uniformly silvery gray sometime after death (Ref. 6181).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Circumtropical and temperate waters of the world. Trichiurus japonicus which was originally described from Japan as Trichiurus lepturus japonicus was synonymized with Trichiurus lepturus. Another nominal species synonymized with Trichiurus lepturus is Trichiurus nitens from the eastern Pacific Ocean (California to Peru).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Generally over muddy bottoms of shallow coastal waters (Ref. 9351). Often enter estuaries (Ref. 9351). Juveniles feed mostly on euphausiids, small pelagic planktonic crustaceans and small fishes; adults feed mainly on fishes and occasionally on squids and crustaceans (Ref. 6181). Adults and juveniles have opposing complementary vertical diurnal feeding migration. Large adults usually feed near the surface during the daytime and migrate to the bottom at night. Juveniles and small adults form schools 100 m above the bottom during the daytime and form loose feeding aggregations at night near the surface. Pelagic eggs (Ref. 35388) and larvae (Ref. 6768). Max weight of 1.5 kg given in Ref. 28023 seems too low. The current angling world record was caught in Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay and weighed 3.69 kg. Commercial fisherman have caught fish of up to 5 kg (Capt. Eduardo Baumeier, pers. Comm., 2001). Marketed salted or dried and also frozen (Ref. 9351). Excellent taste when fried or grilled; also for sashimi when fresh.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Parin, Nikolay V. | Collaborators

Nakamura, I. and N.V. Parin, 1993. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 15. Snake mackerels and cutlassfishes of the world (families Gempylidae and Trichiuridae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the snake mackerels, snoeks, escolars, gemfishes, sackfishes, domine, oilfish, cutlassfishes,. scabbardfishes, hairtails, and frostfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(15):136 p. (Ref. 6181)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: highly commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FIRMS (Stock assessments) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5020   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00038 (0.00029 - 0.00050), b=3.12 (3.04 - 3.20), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.8 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.25-0.29; tm=2; tmax=15).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  High vulnerability (57 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   High.