Fun Ribbonfish Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Oct 20, 2022 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 11, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Read further to discover more fun facts about the ribbonfish!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

Do you love learning about new, fun fish? If yes, then get ready to dive into the fin-tastic world of the unique ribbonfish! The scientific name of this species is Desmodema polystictum and they belong to the trachipteridae family and trachipterus genus of ribbonfish. They are native to the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Mediterranean oceans. They are commonly referred to as ribbonfish due to their elongated, ribbon-like bodies. In fact, while swimming through the ocean, they look like a long piece of ribbon soaring across the water. Different varieties of this species include the cutlassfish, the blue ribbon fish, the polka dot ribbon fish, ribbon sawtail fish, the giant ribbon fish, ribbon dragon fish, silver ribbon fish, and the Florida ribbonfish. In addition to this, ribbonfish can also be used as bait while fishing to catch several larger fish.

Ribbonfish are a deep-water species, which means that they are only found at great depths in the ocean. Due to this, humans rarely see them in their alive, natural habitat. They are usually spotted only after they have been captured or washed up onshore. As a result, they are a pelagic species, which means that they are found deep in the ocean, but not at the very bottom. However, these fish are considered to be popular, due to the abundant health benefits they possess. They are also considered to be extremely tasty, due to which they are a popular delicacy.

Ribbonfish have long bodies that reach a maximum length of 6.5 ft (2 m). They are easily distinguishable by their elongated bodies, large bright-colored dorsal fins that stretch across their entire body, caudal fins that point upwards, and the complete lack of any anal fins. There are six sub-species of the Trachipterus genus of ribbonfish, all with the same laterally compressed, ribbon-like bodies and the characteristics of deep-sea dwelling creatures.

Read further to learn more about the ribbonfish, and if you want to learn about more fish, check out our Porcupine fish and Bony fish facts.

Ribbonfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a ribbonfish?

The ribbonfish is a ray-finned fish belonging to the family Trachipteridae.

What class of animal does a ribbonfish belong to?

The ribbonfish is a fish belonging to the Actinopterygii class.

How many ribbonfishes are there in the world?

There is no exact estimate of the ribbonfish population in the world today. However, there are six sub-species belonging to the Trachipterus genus and the Trachipteridae family of ribbonfish. This includes the Trachipterus altivelis (King of the Salmon), the Trachipterus arcticus (Dealfish), the Trachipterus fukuzakii (Tapertail ribbonfish), the Trachipterus ishikawae (Slender ribbonfish), the Trachipterus jacksonesis (Blackflash ribbonfish) and the Trachipterus trachypterus (Mediterranean dealfish).

Where does a ribbonfish live?

Ribbonfish are commonly found in the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, and Indian oceans. They are deep-water fishes and are rarely spotted in their natural habitat.

What is a ribbonfish's habitat?

They are found dwelling deep in the ocean. Although they are found at great depths, they do not live at the very bottom of the ocean. They are found at depths between 330-1640 ft (100.5-500m). They are pelagic fish, which means that they are found neither close to the shore nor close to the sea bed.

Who do ribbonfishes live with?

Ribbonfish are shoaling fish. This means that they live in groups or schools of fish that travel together for social reasons. The exact reason for these fish to travel in groups is unknown.

How long does a ribbonfish live?

The lifespan of the ribbonfish is said to be in the range of one to six years.

How do they reproduce?

Reproduction takes place between January to August. These fish are oviparous in nature, which means that they reproduce by means of eggs. Fertilization takes place externally, with males releasing sperm into the water and females releasing eggs into the water to be fertilized. Ribbonfish reproduction or spawning occurs twice a year.

What is their conservation status?

Ribbonfish are very common and hence, have been classified as Least Concern by the IUCN.

Ribbonfish Fun Facts

What do ribbonfishes look like?

Ribbonfish has a very unique appearance which is often described as narrow and ribbon-like. They have long, silvery scales with a short head and several small, weak teeth. However, ribbonfish teeth are sharp like spines. They are easily identified by their long, bright red/orange dorsal fin which stretches along the entire length of their bodies. They also have a lumpy body and caudal fins that point upwards. These fish grow between 5-8 ft (1.5-3.5 m) in length, with the maximum length observed to be 20 ft (6 m).

Ribbonfish are classified by their elongated, laterally compressed bodies.

How cute are they?

Ribbonfish are not considered to be cute in appearance. However, they are considered to be aesthetic and sometimes even beautiful due to their bright-colored dorsal fin, ribbon-like appearance, and long tail.

How do they communicate?

Ribbonfish communicate through a combination of physical movements and vibrations. They are a shoaling species, which means that they travel in groups for social reasons. They communicate within the species by a series of small head and tail movements and twitches. They also make use of electrical impulses and vibrations from the movements of other fish and animals in the waters to figure out the location of other fish and prey.

How big is a ribbonfish?

Ribbonfish can grow anywhere between 5-8 ft (1.5-3.5 m) in length. This makes them three times smaller than a bluefin tuna in terms of length.

How fast can a ribbonfish swim?

Due to their elongated, compressed, ribbon-like bodies, ribbonfish are considered to be very swift and quick as they swim across the ocean. Some other fast fish include sailfish, black marlin, mako shark, and bonefish.

How much does a ribbonfish weigh?

The exact weight of the ribbonfish is not known.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the males and females of this species.

What would you call a baby ribbonfish?

There is no specific name for baby ribbonfish. They are simply referred to as juveniles or fry.

What do they eat?

Ribbon fish eat small fish, krill, and baby squid as food.

Are they dangerous?

These fish are generally considered to be harmless to humans. However, they possess a mild toxin which they use to immobilize small prey. This toxin is very mild and wears off after a few minutes. Other dangerous fish include the Lionfish, Candiru, Moray Eel, and Piranha.

Would they make a good pet?

Ribbonfish are aggressive in nature and are used to living in deep waters. Due to their highly aggressive nature, they attack and tear apart anything they may see in front of them, making them unsuitable for a tank environment.

Did you know...

Ribbonfish are considered to have a variety of health benefits. These benefits include improving cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation, improving eyesight, alleviating the symptoms of depression, boosting brain functioning, detoxifying blood vessels, improving skin texture and appearance, and preventing long-term, chronic illnesses.

In India, ribbon fish are highly targeted and sought-after. This is because there is a very high demand for export to south-east Asian countries. In fact, three different species of ribbonfish are native to Indian waters. Ribbonfish are often eaten as food in many countries.

This family of fish is also highly aggressive and carnivorous in nature. Not only do they tear apart any smaller fish or prey they may see, but they also have the ability to tear through gear and bait using their tiny but unique set of teeth. However, they make useful bait during fish to catch larger fish while fishing.

One of the sub-species of the trachipterus genus of ribbonfish, the Trachipterus ishikawae is commonly referred to as the earthquake fish. This is because they usually appear after earthquakes caused due to disturbances in the ocean.

Can you eat a ribbonfish?

Yes, ribbon fish are edible. They are considered to be extremely tasty and can be eaten raw, cooked, or fried. In fact, ribbon fish are considered to be very meaty when filleted and have a light, non-fishy taste, similar to the taste of flounder.

Why is it called a ribbonfish?

Ribbon fishes have been named so because of their long, compressed, tape-like bodies. These fish have been likened to a long ribbon while swimming through the water.

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 Jack Fish facts and Redear Sunfish facts pages.

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

Ribbonfish Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Baby squid, krill, small fish

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

3000 eggs (approximately)

How Much Did They Weigh?


What habitat Do they Live In?

deep waters

Where Do They Live?

the atlantic, pacific, mediterranean, and indian oceans

How Long Were They?

5-8 ft (1.5-2.4 m)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Desmodema Polystictum

What Do They Look Like?

Silver with an elongated, tape-like body and bright red dorsal fin

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

fishing, larger predators

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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