Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Gempylus serpens, Common Snake Mackerel, Snake Mackerel

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very elongate, very compressed
D1 deep notch, XXVI-XXXII, low, long base
D & A: 5-7 finlets behind
tail base - no keels
lower jaw strongly projecting
2 LLs along back

Gempylus serpens Cuvier, 1829

Snake Mackerel, Common Snake Mackerel

Very elongate and slender, very compressed; snout pointed; eye large; mouth long, lower jaw pointed, projecting; teeth large, conical, spaced apart, top jaw with fangs at front; 1st dorsal fin long and low (XXVI-XXXII); 2nd dorsal fin short, followed by 5-7 finlets; anal fin II free spines then I, 10-12, then 6-7 finlets; pelvic fins tiny, I, 3-4; tail fin forked; tail base without keels; 2 obvious lateral lines on body, 1 along mid-side, other along under 1st dorsal fin; skin smooth, scales small; no keel on belly.

Dark brown to blackish, with silvery reflections, fins grey-brown with darker margins.

Size: 125 cm.

Habitat: oceanic, surface to midwater.

Depth: 0-1000 m.

Circumtropical; New York to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathypelagic
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Pelagic crustacea
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 125
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 1000