Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; benthopelagic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 100 - 800 m (Ref. 9302), usually 200 - 400 m (Ref. 6181). Subtropical; 55°N - 43°S, 180°W - 180°E (Ref. 6181)
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 300 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5951); common length : 150 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 6181); max. published weight: 63.5 kg (Ref. 4699)
(total): 13 - 15;
soft rays: 15 - 18;
Vertebrae: 32. Skin very rough, scales interspersed with spinous bony tubercles. Mid-ventral (abdominal) keel on the ventral contour. Body is uniformly brown to dark brown, tips of the pectoral and pelvic fins black, margins of the second dorsal and anal fins white in young specimens.
Circumtropical and temperate seas of the world.
Usually over the continental shelf, sometimes in oceanic waters down to 800 m (Ref. 9302). Usually solitary or in pairs near the bottom (Ref. 6181). Migrates far offshore (Ref. 26139). Pelagic (Ref. 5951). Feeds on fish, crustaceans and squid (Ref. 6181). The peculiar wooden 'palu' or Ruvettus hook is used to catch this species in south central Pacific (Ref. 6181). The flesh is very oily, with purgative properties, if eaten much (Ref. 6181). Marketed fresh and as fish cakes in Japan (Ref. 9302); also processed into fishmeal (Ref. 5217). Maximum length reported to reach up to 2 m only (Heemstra, pers. comm. 03/03).
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)
Threat to humans
Poisonous to eat (Ref. 4690)
Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 1.0000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.2 ±0.57 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (Assuming tm>4).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (85 of 100) .