Cutlassfish Family Photos and Information – Trichiuridae

The Cutlassfish Family – Trichiuridae

There are currently three members of the Cutlassfish or Trichiuridae Family presented in this website:

Atlantic Cutlassfish, Trichiurus lepturus.

Pacific Cutlassfish, Trichiurus nitens.

Channel Scabbardfish, Evoxymetopon taeniatus.

The fish of the Cutlassfish or Trichiuridae Family are known in Mexico as sables. There are thirty-two global members in this family placed in nine genera. The family includes the Cutlassfish, Frostfish, Hairtails, and Scabbardfish. They all have exceptionally elongated and compressed ribbon-like bodies. They are generally steel blue or silver in color. They have a long snout, large eyes, and a large non-protractile mouth with a projecting lower jaw equipped with strong fang-like teeth. Their anal fin has a long base and is preceded by two free spines, the first being inconspicuous and the second being enlarged, with 95 to 115 minute rays mostly buried in the skin. Their caudal fin is small and forked or thin and tapering. They have a single dorsal fin that originates over the gill covers and runs the entire length of the body with three spines that are continuous and shorter than the ray portion which has 100 to 135 rays. Their pectoral fins are small, situated mid-body, and low on the sides. They lack pelvic fins. Their lateral line is set very close to the ventral contour of the body. They do not have scales.

The Cutlassfish are found benthopelagic in tropical and warm temperate waters on the continental shelves and slopes from the surface to depths in excess of 6,000 feet. They are voracious predators feeding on fish, squid, and crustaceans. Reproduction occurs via the release of pelagic eggs which develop into pelagic larvae. Some Cutlassfish are a focus of commercial fishermen and sold commercially. They do not have an abundance of meat but are deemed an excellent food fish. Most are marketed fresh, salted or frozen. The Cutlassfish date to the Miocene period, twenty-three million years ago.