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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 12, 2021

15 Fin-tastic Facts About The Spiderfish For Kids

One of the most interesting spiderfish facts is that they are one of the deepest living fishes in the world.

The spiderfish, Bathypterois longipes, also known as deepsea tripod fish, are one of the deepest living fishes known to come from the family Ipnopidae. They are slender with large mouths and minute, needle-shaped teeth and small eyes, but these fish are actually blind and use motion senses to detect objects. They live in an environment with freezing temperatures of 32-48.2 °F (0-9 °C) and under a pressure of 600 atmospheres and therefore lack color. They have a dorsal fin located forward to the anal fin and an adipose fin; however, their fins have no spines. Bathymicrops, Bathypterois, Bathytyphlops, Discoverichthys, and Ipnops are some of the recognized genera for spiderfish, most common of all being the Bathypterois. The spiderfish is also known for its solitary behavior and hermaphrodite characteristics. They live on the water's surface as larvae, and then as they mature, they descend into the deep sea. This method allows fishes to be in comparatively prey-rich waters and is known as the ontogenetic vertical migration method.

There aren't many studies done on the spiderfish because of the deep environment they are found in. Most of the information present on the spiderfish comes through the references of Merrett, N.R., 1990. Chlorophthalmidae. p. 351-360. In J.C. Quero, J.C. Hureau, C. Karrer, A. Post and L. Saldanha (eds.).

For more relatable content, check out these monkfish facts and gar facts for kids.

Spiderfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a spiderfish?

Spiderfish, genus Bathypterois is a type of fish found in the very deep sea.

What class of animal does a spiderfish belong to?

Spiderfish Bathypterois belongs to the class of Actinopterygii of the kingdom Animalia.

How many spiderfishes are there in the world?

There are 33 recognized species under the five genera of Bathypterois longipes. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, there is plenty of spiderfish in the great depth of oceans, but since there is not much information available on this fish species, it is difficult to give the exact count for them.

Where does a spiderfish live?

The distribution of abyssal spiderfish is in the marine Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. These deep-sea creatures have their range worldwide except for Antarctica. Another species of abyssal spiderfish called longray spiderfish is also found very commonly in the depth of Australia and New Zealand.

What is a spiderfish's habitat?

The abyssal spiderfish are one of the world's deepest living fishes and lives at a depth of 0.6-3.7 mi (1-6 km). In oceans, they can be found in marine continental slopes and abyssal waters. The spiderfish Bathypterois occurs in places where the seabed is either made of very fine sand or ooze. This fish occurs at a depth under an environment with little or no oxygen or water currents with freezing, pitch-black surrounding, and pressure of up to 600 atmospheres.

Who do spiderfishes live with?

Bathypterois longipes are strictly solitary fish and do not prefer to live with any other fishes or even fish of their own species like the one commonly found in Australia.

How long does a spiderfish live?

Spiderfish Bathypterois are deep-sea fish, which makes it difficult to gather a lot of information on them. For the same reason, the exact life span of this genus species is unknown.

How do they reproduce?

Bathypterois longipes are synchronous or simultaneous hermaphrodites, which means they have male and female sex organs inside them actively working at the same time. This reduces the need for mating with other fish of their species like the abyssal spiderfish species seen in Australia and New Zealand. Spiderfish Bathypterois also produce very slowly and can take up to 14 years to double their population. Given their deep-sea location and very slow reproduction process, very little information is available on spiderfish larvae, their biology and how they reproduce, and other relevant details. But we know that abyssal spiderfish lays eggs in the water columns.

What is their conservation status?

By the IUCN Red List of Threatened species, the spiderfish Bathypterois, order Aulopiformes is declared as a Least Concern species, which means that they can be found in abundance in their habitats and are currently facing no risk of endangerment. However, their habitat, abyssal zones, which receive most of their oxygen from the polar regions, are under threat, harming this species in the long term.

Spiderfish Fun Facts

What do spiderfishes look like?

Spiderfish Bathypterois are deep marine creatures and because of this, they lack beautiful pigment in their skin. Spiderfish would have either brown, black, or white transparent skin. Given that they are one of the deepest living fishes, they use their long pelvic and caudal fins to push themselves in order to travel in the water, which gives them a tripod-like look, giving them the name of tripod fish. They use the same fin formation to rest on the bottom as well.

The spiderfish uses their fins to walk on the sea surface, giving them the look of a tripod.

How cute are they?

The spiderfish Bathypterois isn't exactly a cute species. This opinion might vary from person to person. But they indeed are very beautiful and wonderful marine creatures to exist at such great depths.

How do they communicate?

Abyssal spiderfish are solitary fishes and do not like to be with other fishes. Being hermaphrodites, they do not even necessarily require someone from their own species for mating. Therefore it is very likely that they do not require any sort of communication.

How big is a spiderfish?

The abyssal spiderfish can grow as long as  7.9-17.7 in (20-45 cm), which is almost half the length of a colossal squid.

How fast can a spiderfish swim?

With the help of their tripod formation, abyssal spiderfish can move quickly and effortlessly.

How much does a spiderfish weigh?

A spiderfish's weight can range up to 1.1 oz (32 g) which is almost ten times the weight of a vampire squid.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The spiderfish Bathypterois are simultaneous hermaphrodites, which means that they have male and female organs actively working at the same time. Under this condition, they do not need separate names for male and female species.

What would you call a baby spiderfish?

A baby spiderfish is called a larva or larvae (plural).

What do they eat?

The abyssal spiderfish live in low-light environments and therefore cannot see their food. They use tactile and mechanosensory cues in order to find their food by using their fins as hands. Their sensitive fins are used to sense objects in the deep sea. Once they feel an edible object, using their fins, they eat them with their mouth. The abyssal spiderfish usually feed on small crustaceans, squids, shrimps, and tiny fishes.

Are they dangerous?

Since there is very little information available on the biology of one of the world's deepest fishes, it is hard to say how dangerous it can be for human beings.

Would they make a good pet?

The spiderfish will not make a good pet because of the habitat where they exist. They are found in the deep sea with temperatures as low as 32.7°F (0.4°C) and pressure 600 atmospheres. They can survive in such extreme environmental conditions because they have the same amount of pressure in their body as well. If they were taken out and brought to the surface, they will not survive the pressure. You have to go deep underwater to catch them but it is advised not to as they won't survive.

Did you know...

The spiderfish Bathypterois is a simultaneous hermaphrodite and can successfully achieve self-fertilization. Only 40 out of 25,000 fish species can do this.

The spiderfish Bathypterois gets the name of spiderfish because of its very long fins. Another species of abyssal spiderfish is also found very commonly in Australia and New Zealand.

What are the different types of spiderfish?

There are different types of spiderfish that are found in different places in the world and have slightly elongated bodies, but they all share the same habitat and have the same behavior. Some of these spiderfish are abyssal spiderfish (the most common spiderfish), longray spiderfish, Mediterranean spiderfish, and grideye spiderfish.

Why do tripod fish have legs?

These tripod fish are also known as stilt walkers because they use their underside and tail to stand and walk on the sea surface. According to the researchers, spiderfish gets a pump of fluid that helps this elongated structure be rigid and helps them walk or stand. The level at which they stand with the help of these fins is perfect in position for them to eat crustaceans, prawns, fishes, and squids. Since the spiderfish lives in such a dark environment where they cannot see, the same long fins also help them feel any predator approaching them by the creatures' vibrations on the muddy surface.  

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these rockfish fun facts for kids and stonefish interesting facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable spiderfish coloring pages.

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