Spongy Rat Tail

Bathygadus Spongiceps
Spongy Rat Tail - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Bathygadus Spongiceps
Family Whiptail / Macrouridae
Size Up to 50 cm (19.68 in)
Weight Up to 1 kg (2.2 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Deepsea waters amongst soft bottom areas on the continental slope
Depth Range 600 - 2,000 m (6,560 ft)
Spongy Rat Tail Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Spongy Rat Tail is distributed along the western and southern coasts of Australia, ranging from Western Australia to South Australia. It is commonly found in the waters off the continental slope and deep-sea canyons in these regions.
  • It has a unique appearance that sets it apart from other fish species. The fish has a soft and spongy texture to its skin, giving it its common name. Its coloration can vary, but it is typically brownish-grey or reddish-brown, helping it blend in with its deep-sea habitat.
  • The Spongy Rat Tail is a carnivorous species, primarily feeding on small benthic organisms found on the seafloor. Its diet consists of various invertebrates, such as small crustaceans and benthic worms.
  • It has several adaptations that allow it to survive in the extreme conditions of the deep sea. Its elongated body shape reduces drag and allows it to move efficiently in the water. It possesses large eyes, which are adapted to low-light conditions. Additionally, it has a slow metabolism, enabling it to conserve energy in the nutrient-poor deep-sea environment.
  • The Spongy Rat Tail has well-developed sensory systems to navigate its deep-sea habitat. It relies on its sense of smell and vibration detection to locate prey in the darkness of the deep sea.
  • They are known to have a slow reproductive rate, with females producing a relatively small number of large eggs. Their breeding season occurs during the winter months, from June to August, when water temperatures are cooler and conducive to spawning.
  • They have an estimated lifespan up to 20 years.
Species Interaction

Elusive Species

The Spongy Rat Tail in the wild can be quite challenging to encounter due to its deep-sea habitat. The fish resides at depths that are inaccessible to most people. Any occurrences of this fish would be potential bycatch from deep-sea trawlers or specific scientific research and deep-sea exploration.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Gadiformes

Family: Macrouridae

Genus: Bathygadus

Species: Bathygadus Spongiceps

Conservation Status

In Australia, the Spongy Rat Tail is not considered a targeted species for conservation efforts. While limited data is available specifically for this fish, many deep-sea species face potential threats due to deep-sea trawling practices.

Elusive / Overlooked Species

Finding: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Deepsea

Danger: None

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