Jeff Farley

Jeff Farley

Posted on 03/16/2016


Photo taken on May 23, 2014


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Madeira
16-24.05.14


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The Scabbard fish.

The Scabbard fish.
Seen in the Funchal fish market.
These are caught off Madeira from colossal depths and are so called because of their likeness to a sword scabbard being very long.

Description.
The black scabbard fish is a fish with a body that is extremely elongated. The body height is about one-eighth of the standard length, which is up to 1.1 m (3.6 ft). The snout is large with strong fang-like teeth. The dorsal fin has 34 to 41 spines and 52 to 56 soft rays. The anal fin has 2 spines and 43 to 48 soft rays. The pelvic fins are represented by a single spine in juveniles but are entirely absent in adults. The color is a coppery black with an iridescent tint. The inside of the mouth and gill cavities are black. Juveniles are believed to be mesopelagic, living at depths from 100 to 500 m (328 to 1,640 ft).
Biology
The black scabbard fish is bathypelagic by day but moves upwards in the water column at night to feed at middle depths on crustaceans, cephalopods and other fishes, mostly grenadiers, codlings (family Moridae) and naked heads (family Alepocephalidae). The black scabbard fish coexists spatially with aphanopus intermedius Parin, which is a species commonly known as the intermediate scabbard fish. The narrow, elongated body of the black scabbard fish, along with its pointed head and long dorsal fin, are adapted for fast swimming. This fish has a large terminal mouth with large fang like teeth for efficient predation. In order to camouflage well, it has a coppery-black coloration with an iridescent tint. The fish’s large eyes which have a diameter of 1/5-1/6 of the head length, are of such a large size to facilitate sight in low light. They become sexually mature at a length of about 80 cm (31 in). Both the eggs and the larvae are pelagic, drifting with the plankton. In general, the size distribution moves towards higher values from north to south of the NE Atlantic. Eggs and larval stages of this fish are unknown and juvenile fish are rarely caught. Juveniles, however, are reported to be mesopelagic. The life cycle of black scabbard fish is unknown, but the most common hypothesis is that one single stock undertakes a large scale clockwise migration around the NE atlantic. Spawning is restricted to certain areas including Madeira, the Canary Islands, and possibly further south. The juvenile black scabbard fish stay to feed and grow for a few years in the fisheries south of the Faroe Islands and the west of the British Isles. Afterwards, the juveniles then move south towards mainland Portugal and even further south to the spawning areas. The most recent studies indicate that the maximum age of the black scabbard fish from Madeira was about 14 years and the maximum age in Mainland Portugal was about 12 years. As opposed to most shelf demersal and pelagic commercial fish, the black scabbard fish exhibit a slow growth rate in adults. This slow growth rate results from energy investment of growth and reproduction.

Thelonious58, Frank Roolooth, kiiti, ROL/Photo and 9 other people have particularly liked this photo


19 comments - The latest ones
Maeluk
Maeluk
Interesting information Jeff... the fish is one I haven't seen before.
22 months ago.
Richard Gawthorpe
Richard Gawthorpe
great snapper there jeff
22 months ago.
John Lawrence
John Lawrence
Great pic Jeff and story!
22 months ago.
John Lawrence
John Lawrence
Your wonderful image has been seen and admired in Pictorials
22 months ago.
RatRod
RatRod
Amazing pic Jeff , superb detail even if some is not so pretty. and as for info , we have all learnt something new today.
22 months ago.
William Sutherland
William Sutherland
Awesome capture!

Your wonderful image has been seen and admired in Pictorials
22 months ago.
Rainer Blankermann
Rainer Blankermann
Impressive shot. I thank you also for the story!
22 months ago.
Betty【ツ】
Betty【ツ】
Even not fear ! :o))))))
22 months ago.
Jaap van 't Veen
Jaap van 't Veen
Excelent details.
22 months ago.
Pat29
Pat29
Looks a bit scary Jeff, but lovely pic
21 months ago.
Danielle
Danielle
Superbe
21 months ago.
8adam8
8adam8
Nice smile! :)
21 months ago.
MPé
MPé
Merci pour le groupe...
21 months ago.
Sonja
Sonja
As that huge eye is clear I guess thats the original colour, and not after smoking or somesuch! A most weird fish, like somebody crossed a golliwog doll with a pike.
21 months ago.
Jeff Farley has replied to Sonja
You have a humour very similar to mine Sonja - thank you for your comment and this is the original colour.
21 months ago.
Hellemor
Hellemor
HEHE THe first I thought about was a Pike :)
21 months ago.
ROL/Photo
ROL/Photo
Ha ha ha ... original
21 months ago.
Thelonious58
Thelonious58
This looks like one of those river monsters on TV. Excellent details and angle
19 months ago.