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Whalefishes and Relatives: Stephanoberyciformes

Physical Characteristics, Hairyfish (mirapinna Esau): Species AccountGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, BEHAVIOR AND REPRODUCTION, WHALEFISHES AND THEIR RELATIVES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

HAIRYFISH (Mirapinna esau): SPECIES ACCOUNT

Whalefishes and their relatives live all over the world.

Whalefishes and their relatives live in open water down to about 13,100 feet (4,000 meters). Some species travel close to the surface.

Little is known about the diet of whalefishes and their relatives. Tiny crustaceans (krus-TAY-shuns) have been found in the stomachs of a few fish. Crustaceans are water-dwelling animals that have jointed legs and a hard shell but no backbone.

Whalefishes and their relatives travel from deep to shallower water. The reproductive biology of whalefishes and their relatives is largely unknown, but both eggs and larvae (LAR-vee) drift in open water. Larvae are animals in an early stage and must change form before becoming adults. In general, larvae and the young appear to live in shallower water than adults, which live in the deep sea. The larvae of some species have very long streamers on their tails.

Whalefishes and their relatives are not eaten. Whalefishes are probably important food for fishes that are caught and sold, such as orange roughy.

Whalefishes and their relatives are not threatened or endangered.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded Vertebrates