Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Gempylus serpens, Common snake-mackerel

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very elongate, very compressed
D1 deep notch, XXVI-XXXII, low, long base
D2 & A: 5-7 finlets behind
2 LL along back
tail base - no keels

Gempylus serpens Cuvier, 1829

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; throughout our region (except for most of the Gulf of California), south to Chile.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Near Surface
  • Mid Water
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathypelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Pelagic crustacea
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Bony fishes
  • Data
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • TEP non-endemic
  • Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America)
  • East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West)
  • All Pacific (West + Central + East)
  • All species
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West)
Regional Endemism
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • All species
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 125
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 1000