Channel Scabbardfish

Channel Scabbardfish, Evoxymetopon taeniatus

The Channel Scabbardfish, Evoxymetopon taeniatus, whose common Spanish name is tajalí de canal, is a species in the Cutlassfish or Trichiuridae Family, known collectively as sables in Mexico. Globally, there are only four species in the genus Evoxymetopon, one of which is found in Mexican waters, this species from of the Atlantic.

The Channel Scabbardfish have extremely elongated and strongly compressed ribbon-like bodies that taper to a very small forked caudal fin. They have a uniform silvery appearance with reddish-brown tinges dorsally and several longitudinal pale yellow stripes on their body. The front portion of their dorsal fin is blackish and their other fins are transparent. Their head has a convex upper profile with a steep forehead, medium-sized eyes located mid-body, and a relatively small mouth that ends before the eyes. Their anal fin has a long base with 60 rays that are exceedingly small and usually embedded in the skin. Their dorsal fin is high and has a long base with three spines and 81 to 90 rays. Their pectoral fins are mid-sized. They do not have formal pelvic fins. Their lateral line is fairly straight and runs slightly below the midline. They do not have scales.

The Channel Scabbardfish are an exceedingly rare and poorly studied benthopelagic species found on the continental slope or the continental shelf. They are found in deep waters at depths of at least 600 feet. They reach a maximum length of 2 meters (6 feet 6 inches) and  4 kg (9 pounds) in weight. They are seldom seen by humans and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Channel Scabbardfish is unknown with the first fish from Mexican waters documented below.

Channel Scabbardfish (1)

Channel Scabbardfish, Evoxymetopon taeniatus. Fish caught from coastal waters off Playa del Carmen, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, November, 2005. Length: 1.88 meters (6 feet 2 inches). Identification courtesy of Dr. R. Wilson Laney, South Atlantic Fisheries Coordination Office, Raleigh, NC.