Tripod Spiderfish

Bathypterois Grallator
Tripod Spiderfish - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Bathypterois Grallator
Other names Tripodfish
Size Up to 43 cm (16.92 in)
Weight Up to .50 kg (1.10 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Deep ocean waters on oceanic ridges, continental rise & lower slope
Depth Range 200 - 2,000 m (6,561 ft)
Tripod Spiderfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Tripod Spiderfish are the stilt masters of the deep. They are found off the continental slope and abyssal plains of Eastern Australia and Tasmania, in addition to sightings in Western Australia.
  • The Tripod Spiderfish earns its name from its elongated pelvic and caudal fin rays that prop it up to a meter above the dark ocean floor. They have a slender body and disproportionately long, spider-like fins, with large eyes. Their coloration ranges from dark brown to black, aiding in camouflage in their deep ocean environment.
  • They are opportunistic carnivores, feeding on smaller fish, crustaceans and other small invertebrates that inhabit the ocean floor.
  • It is believed they may use sound to navigate and communicate in the silent darkness of the deep sea.
  • They possess several unique adaptations that allow them to thrive in the deep-sea environment. Their elongated bodies and extended fins help them navigate the water column with minimal energy, while their large eyes are finely tuned to detect bioluminescent prey in the darkness.
  • These fish have yet to be extensively studied regarding their breeding habits. However, they are believed to be oviparous, meaning they reproduce by laying eggs. Breeding may occur throughout the year, with spawning events potentially linked to specific environmental cues in their deep-sea habitat.
  • The lifespan of Tripod Spiderfish is estimated to be between 7 to 15 years. However, exact data on their longevity is limited due to the challenges of studying deep-sea species.
Species Interaction

Elusive Species

The Tripod Spiderfish is a very elusive and difficult species to find due to its deep sea habitat. Advanced technical diving expeditions equipped for deep-sea exploration may occasionally spot them.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Aulopiformes

Family: Chlorophthalmidae

Genus: Bathypterois

Species: Bathypterois Grallator

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Tripod Spiderfish is not well-documented. They are currently listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN due to their wide distribution and lack of targeted fishing pressure. However, their deep-sea habitat is susceptible to threats like pollution and deep-sea mining, so ongoing monitoring is important.

Elusive / Overlooked Species

Finding: Difficult

Temperament: Shy

Location: Deepsea

Danger: None

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