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Grenadiers, Rattails, Whiptails

Compiler and date details

16 May 2018 - Dianne J. Bray, Katie E. Smith, Douglass F. Hoese, Matthew M. Lockett, John R. Paxton & Jennifer E. Gates

20 November 2015 - Dianne J. Bray, Katie E. Smith, Douglass F. Hoese, Matthew M. Lockett, John R. Paxton & Jennifer E. Gates

24 November 2014 - Dianne J. Bray, Katie E. Smith, Douglass F. Hoese, John R. Paxton & Jennifer E. Gates

27 June 2011 - Dianne J. Bray, Douglass F. Hoese, John R. Paxton & Jennifer E. Gates


Members of the Macrouridae are known from the deep waters of all oceans, with about 30 genera (Eschmeyer 2014) and nearly 400 species known worldwide (Eschmeyer 2014; Eschmeyer & Fong 2014). In Australian 06 species in 27 genera have been recorded, with an additional eight from external territories. The number of known species has increased dramatically in the last 10–15 years; in 1989, Paxton et al. indicated that 20 genera and 57 species were known from Australia. Also many of the groups previously treated as subfamilies are now recognised as distinct families (McMillian & Iwamoto 2015, Nelson et al 2016).

Most rattails are benthopelagic on the continental slope, but a few species are meso- and bathypelagic and some others live in shallower water on the outer shelf. Recorded food includes crustaceans, fishes, squids and echinoderms. Macrourids have a large head, a short trunk and a long tapering tail, which usually lacks a caudal fin. The first dorsal fin is usually high with the first rays spinous, the second dorsal fin is low, pelvic fins are thoracic, a chin barbel is usually present and many species have an abdominal light organ containing luminous bacteria. Maximum length is 1.5 m.

The rattails, whiptails or grenadiers have not been revised comprehensively and, in particular, the Indo-Pacific species need revision. Marshall & Iwamoto (1973) reviewed all of the genera, revised the western Atlantic species and listed the valid species in each genus. Iwamoto (1990) listed the known grenadiers of the world. Gilbert & Hubbs (1920) revised the Philippine and Indonesian species and McCann & McKnight (1980) revised the New Zealand species. McMillan & Paulin (1993), McMillan (1995) and Iwamoto & McMillan (1997) treated the New Zealand species, some of which occur in Australia. Iwamoto & Merrett (1997) and Merrett & Iwamoto (2000) treated species from the New Caledonian region, some of which occur in Australian waters. Iwamoto (1990) treated Southern Ocean species. Iwamoto & Williams (1999) described several new species from Western Australia and Iwamoto & McMillan (2008) treated southern Australian species. Iwamoto (1999) presented a key to many species known from Australian waters. Most Australian species are treated by Iwamoto & Williams (1999), Iwamoto & Graham (2001, 2008) and McMillan & Iwamoto (2009, 2015). McMillan et al. (2012) revised the genus Macrourus, and included a key to species.

Although Bray et al. (2006) used the genus name Caelorinchus following Eschmeyer (1990), Iwamoto & Graham (2008) indicated that the correct spelling is Coelorinchus.

Tomio Iwamoto of CAS has re-identified much of the material held in Australian museums. Alan Williams of CSIRO also provided information for this summary.


General References

Bray, D.J., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R. & Gates, J.E. 2006. Macrouridae. pp. 581-607 in Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. Fishes. In, Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 35. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp.

Eschmeyer, W.N. 1990. Catalog of the Genera of Recent Fishes. San Francisco : California Academy of Sciences 697 pp.

Eschmeyer, W.N. 2014. Catalog of Fishes. Online version updated 19 May 2014.

Eschmeyer, W.N. & Fong, J.D. 2014. Species of Fishes by family/subfamily. Catalog of Fishes. Online version updated 19 May 2014.

Gilbert, C.H. & Hubbs, C.L. 1920. The macrouroid fishes of the Philippine Islands and the East Indies. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 100(7): 369-588 figs 1-40

Iwamoto, T. 1990. Family Macrouridae. pp. 90-318 in Cohen, D.M., Inada, T., Iwamoto, T. & Scialabba, N. FAO Species Catalogue. Gadiform fishes of the world (order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 10 442 pp.

Iwamoto, T. 1990. Macrouridae. pp. 192-206 in Gon, O. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds). Fishes of the Southern Ocean. Grahamstown : J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology 462 pp.

Iwamoto, T. 1999. Families Macrouridae, Bathylagidae, Moridae, Bregmacerotidae. pp. 1986-1998 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Iwamoto, T. & Graham, K.J. 2001. Grenadiers (Families Bathygadidae and Macrouridae, Gadiformes, Pisces) of New South Wales, Australia. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 52(21): 407-509 figs 1-114

Iwamoto, T. & Graham, K.J. 2008. Two new Australian grenadiers of the Coelorinchus fasciatus species group (Macrouridae: Gadiformes: Teleostei). Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 4 59(5): 133-146

Iwamoto, T. & McMillan, P. 1997. A new grenadier, genus Trachonurus, from New Zealand and Australia (Pisces: Gadiformes: Macrouridae). Memoirs of Museum Victoria 56(1): 255-259

Iwamoto, T. & McMillan, P.J. 2008. Family Bathygadidae. pp. 320-347 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Iwamoto, T. & McMillan, P.J. 2008. Family Macrouridae. pp. 320-347 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Iwamoto, T. & Merrett, N. 1997. Pisces Gadiformes: Taxonomy of grenadiers of the New Caledonian regions, southwest Pacific. pp. 473-570 in Crosnier, A. (ed.). Résultats des Campagnes MUSORSTOM. Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris [1936-1950] 176: 1-570

Iwamoto, T. & Williams, A. 1999. Grenadiers (Pisces, Gadiformes) from the continental slope of western and northwestern Australia. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 51(3): 105-243 figs 1-58

Marshall, N.B. & Iwamoto, T. 1973. Family Macrouridae. In Cohen, D.M. (ed.) Fishes of the western North Atlantic. Memoir. Sears Foundation of Marine Research 1(6): 496-665 figs 1-53

McCann, C. & McKnight, D.G. 1980. The marine fauna of New Zealand: macrourid fishes. (Pisces : Gadida). Memoirs of the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute 61: 1-91 figs 1-69

McMillan, P. 1994. Family Macrouridae. pp. 340-364 figs 304-325 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

McMillan, P., Iwamoto, T., Stewart, A. & Smith, P.J. 2012. A new species of grenadier, genus Macrourus (Teleostei, Gadiformes, Macrouridae) from the southern hemisphere and a revision of the genus. Zootaxa 3165: 1-24

McMillan, P.J. 1995. Review of trachyrincine grenadier fishes (Pisces: Macrouridae) from New Zealand, with a description of a new species of Trachyrincus. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 29(1): 83-91

McMillan, P.J. & Iwamoto, T. 2015. Families Macrouridae, Bathygadidae, Macrouroididae, Trachyrincidae. pp. 747-838 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152.

McMillan, P.J. & Paulin, C.D. 1993. Descriptions of nine new species of rattails of the genus Caelorinchus (Pisces, Macrouridae) from New Zealand. Copeia 1993(3): 819-840

McMillan, P.J. & T. Iwamoto 2009. Two new species of Coelorinchus (Teleostei, Gadiformes, Macrouridae ) from the Tasman Sea. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 4 60(4): 39-51

Merrett, N.R. & Iwamoto, T. 2000. Pisces Gadiformes: Grenadier fishes of the New Caledonian region, southwest Pacific Ocean. Taxonomy and distribution, with ecological notes. pp. 723-781 in Crosnier, R. (ed.). Résultats des Campagnes MUSORSTOM, v. 21. Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris [1936-1950] 184: 1-744

Nelson, J.S., Grande, T.C. & Wilson, M.V.H. 2016. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons 5, 752 pp.

Paxton, J.R., Hoese, D.F., Allen, G.R. & Hanley, J.E. (eds) 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Pisces: Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service Vol. 7 665 pp.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
31-Jul-2018 MACROURIDAE 16-May-2018 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese Dr Matthew Lockett
26-Nov-2015 GADIFORMES 20-Nov-2015 MODIFIED Dr Dianne Bray (NMV) Dr Doug Hoese (AM) Dr Matthew Lockett (AM)
12-Feb-2010 (import)