Fun Oarfish Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Oct 20, 2022 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Oarfish facts about the deep sea fish species of the oceanic world
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.7 Min

Do you know what the longest bony fish in the world is? It is the oarfish (scientific name regalecus glesne) and they have occupy a place in the Guinness Book of World Record.

They are ribbon-like fish that are found in the deep waters of the eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. These pelagic fishes belong to the family of regalecidae.

Another common name for this species is the King of Herrings as few elements of its dorsal fin look like a crown. The dorsal fin runs along the entire length of the body of the giant oarfish with a tiny spine that projects over each of the 400 individual fin rays.

The pelvic fins are elongated and are of a similar color. The King of Herrings are known as rare fishes for they reside in deep sea waters primarily.

This fish species moves its pelvic fins in a circular motion like an oar, hence the name oarfish. This fish species has been witnessed swimming with the help of its dorsal fins as well as swimming in a vertical position.

Here are some fun, engaging and interesting facts on the giant oarfish that will make you more curious about them. Afterwards, do check our other articles on warmouth and tilefish as well.

Oarfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an oarfish?

Oarfish is a long and elongated fish that is found in the deep waters. They are also known as the King of Herrings as the dorsal fins element has a resemblance to a crown.

As per the book Systematics, Biology, and Distribution of the Species of the oceanic oarfish, these sea serpents from family regalecidae rarely come near the surface. They are also called streamer fish, sea serpent, or ribbonfish and are known for their shy nature.

What class of animal does an oarfish belong to?

An oarfish is a long bony fish that belongs to the actinopterygii class. Oarfish come under the order lampriformes of the regalecidae family.

It belongs to the regalecus genus. The most common species are giant oarfish and its scientific name is Regalecus glesne. Tyson R Roberts has written a book on these fishes and the book is called ‘Systematics, Biology, and Distribution of the Species of Oceanic oarfish Genus regalecus (teleostei, lampriformes, regalecidae)’.

How many oarfishes are there in the world?

As per the Florida Museum of Natural History, oarfish have two genera with three species. There is no accurate and rough estimate of the total number of these deep water sea serpents, with a snake like body, in the world as sighting a live oarfish is a rare phenomena.

Where does an oarfish live?

Oarfish are seen in the deep waters of the oceans. They are seen in the deep waters of the eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea but are rarely observed swimming near the water surface.

What is an oarfish's habitat?

Oarfish habitat can be found in the epipelagic and mesopelagic zones. They prefer to live in deep waters and rarely come to the surface.  They are seen in the tropical and temperate oceans around the world.

Who do 0arfish live with?

An oarfish is a solitary animal that prefers to live alone. They are usually observed living alone and not in groups.

How long does an oarfish live?

The life span of an oarfish is not known as not a lot has been observed about this species ever since its discovery.

How do they reproduce?

Oarfishes, regalecus glesne, usually follow the process of broadcast spawning and are oviparous. The spawning occurs during the months between July and December in warm waters. These fishes are oviparous. The eggs stay on the surface until hatching takes place after the fertilization process and larvae are grown within three weeks and feed on planktons till they become mature.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the oarfish (regalecus glesne) is Not Evaluated by IUCN. They are rarely seen in the deep waters but are spread across the world.

Oarfish Fun Facts

What do oarfish look like?

An oarfish is a long and elongated bony fish that is found in deep waters. They are silvery in color and have smooth and rubbery skin with no scales.

Oarfish have wavy markings on their body and the body is coated with a material called guanine. These fish do not have an anal fin and have a long dorsal fin which is present throughout the entire length of the body.

The mouth of the oarfish is evidently protrusible. Due to their long elongated body, it is called ribbon fish and also sometimes called a sea serpent in some places.

Pectoral fins are situated in the low part of the body. Specimens of horned oarfish skeleton can be observed at Florida Museum of Natural History.

(Oarfish size can extend up to 50 ft (15.2 m) while the weight can reach up to 600 lb (272.15 kg)

How cute are they?

An oarfish is a very long and elongated fish that looks like a ribbon. They are not cute in appearance.

How do they communicate?

The communication method of oarfish is unknown. Usually, an oarfish is seen as solitary.

How big is an oarfish?

An oarfish is a large sized fish and has a body length of 26-36 ft (7.92-10.97 m). An oarfish is the longest bony fish alive in the world. The longest body length ever recorded in an oarfish is 50 ft (15.2 m).

How fast can an oarfish swim?

An oarfish swims in a vertical position with dorsal fins in order to catch its prey. It is an amiiform mode of swimming. No exact information is available regarding oarfish swimming speed.

How much does an oarfish weigh?

On an average scale, an adult oarfish weighs around 600 lb (272.15 kg). This may vary according to the surroundings.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male oarfish and female oarfish are the common names for the males and females of this species.

What would you call a baby oarfish?

A baby oarfish is called a larva or fry.

What do they eat?

An oarfish is a carnivore. They primarily feed on zooplanktons, shrimps and small fishes. Predators of oarfishes are sharks. They usually do not have any other predators.

Are they rare?

An oarfish is very rarely seen on the ocean surface as they live deep inside the sea. They are mistaken to be rare due to their shy nature.

Would they make a good pet?

No, oarfish cannot be kept as pets. They prefer to live deep in the sea and such conditions cannot be given to them in a home aquarium.

Did you know...

An oarfish is also called an earthquake fish as these fishes can forecast earthquakes. It may be because they live in deeper parts of the sea.

When was the oarfish discovered?

An oarfish was discovered in the year 1772. These fishes have rare meetings with divers and rarely fall in traps.

What do oarfish use to propel themselves through the water?

The swimming pattern of an oarfish is quite unusual. They swim in a vertical position and it is an amiiform mode of swimming. Oarfishes use their pelvic fins and dorsal fins to propel themselves instead of a tail.

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 tetra facts and fluke fish facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our oarfish coloring pages.

eastern atlantic ocean and mediterranean sea

Get directions
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi Raturi picture

Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

Read full bio >