Gempylus serpens Cuvier, 1829, Tropic of Cancer.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Escolier serpent; Spanish: Escolar de canal.
Maximum length approximately 40 in (1 m), commonly to 24 in (60 cm). Body greatly elongate and strongly compressed. Tips of upper and lower jaws with cartilaginous processes. Three immovable and zero to three movable fangs anteriorly in upper jaw. First dorsal fin long with 26–32 spines, second dorsal fin with 11–14 soft rays followed by five or six finlets. Caudal fin well developed. Scales absent except on posterior part of body.
Worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas; adults also caught in temperate waters.
Strictly oceanic, epipelagic and mesopelagic from the surface to depths of 656 ft (200 m).
Usually solitary. Adults migrate to the surface at night; larvae and juveniles stay near the surface only during the day.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feed on fishes such as lanternfishes, flyingfishes, sauries, and scombrids and on squids and crustaceans.
Males mature at approximately 17 in (43 cm) standard length, females at 20 in (50 cm). Spawn in tropical waters throughout the year. Fecundity is estimated at 300,000 to one million eggs.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
There is no directed fishery for snake mackerel, but it sometimes appears as bycatch in the tuna long-line fishery.
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