PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, BEHAVIOR AND REPRODUCTION, BEARDFISHES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS
Beardfishes have a pair of barbels (BAR-buhls), which are long, thin feelers on the chin, used for the senses of taste, touch, and smell, that look like a beard. The body is pointed at the ends. The dorsal (DOOR-suhl) and anal fins have well-developed spines. The dorsal fin is the fin along the midline of the back, and the anal (AY-nuhl) fin is the fin along the midline of the belly.
Beardfishes live in the Atlantic, Indian, and western Pacific oceans.
Very little is known about the habitat of beardfishes, but because they have chin barbels these fishes are believed to be bottom dwellers, probably over sand or mud.
The stomach of beardfishes is thick walled and muscular, often with more than one hundred pouches. These fishes eat crustaceans (krus-TAY-shuns), squid, and small fishes. Crustaceans are water-dwelling animals that have jointed legs and a hard shell but no backbone.
Scientists know little about the behavior of beardfishes and nothing about their reproduction. Beardfish eggs have not been found.
Beardfishes are marketed for human consumption in most regions. Commercial catches are small but growing.
Beardfishes are not threatened or endangered.
Physical characteristics: Stout beardfish reach a maximum length of about 20 inches (50 centimeters). They are dark bronze-gray on the back and silvery on the belly. The scales have rows of tiny teeth. The chin barbels are long and threadlike.
Geographic range: Stout beardfish live on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Habitat: Stout beardfish live on gravel and sandy bottoms.
Diet: Stout beardfish feed on crustaceans, squid, and small fishes.
Behavior and reproduction: Scientists do not know how stout beardfish behave or reproduce. Eggs have not been found.
Stout beardfish and people: Stout beardfish are marketed fresh and frozen.
Conservation status: Stout beardfish are not threatened or endangered. ∎
FOR MORE INFORMATION
"Polymixia nobilis: Stout Beardfish." FishBase. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Polymixia&speciesname=nobilis (accessed on October 4, 2004).
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