Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Regalecus glesne, Oarfish, King Of Herrings

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

extremely elongate, very compressed = giant ribbon
D very long (top of head to tail tip), with 2 front crests
2 D crests: 6-8 united rays + 5-11 isolated rays
D 90-102 rays to end abdomen
eye small, no teeth
gill rakers 33-47
A&C absent in adult
pelvics: 1 very long ray



Regalecus glesne Ascanius, 1772

Oarfish, King Of Herrings

Body extremely elongate, strongly compressed, a giant ribbon; mouth with protrusible top jaw, maxilla broad; teeth on both jaws usually absent, minute and widely spaced if present; gill rakers 33-47; dorsal fin very long (414-449 in fish with a complete tail, 90-102 rays to end of abdomen), from top of head almost to tail tip, front rays with skin flaps, form 2 crests up to 1m or more long, 1st crest with 6-8 rays united by membrane, 2nd crest with 5-11 rays not united by membrane to each other or to other rays; anal fin absent; pelvics with one, highly elongate ray, ornamented with colored skin flaps, reaching to vent; tail fin usually absent in adults, with 3-4 rays in juveniles, the middle 3 robust and elongate; scales absent, except for tubular lateral line scales; body with 6-7 longitudinal rows of tubercles of various sizes.

Head blue to blackish; body bright silver, with oblique blackish dashes or bars, or round spots over all or part of the body ; dorsal and pelvic fins crimson red.

Reaches 800 cm, and 272 kg

Epipelagic and mesopelagic

Depth range 15-1000 m, usually less than 200 m.

Circumglobal, mainly subtropical; Newfoundland to Uruguay

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Pelagic jellyfish/ctenophores
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
  • Vagrant
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
  • 800
Depth Range Min
  • 15
Depth Range Max
  • 1000