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Volume 34, 1901
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Art. XVIII.—On the Occurrence of Alepisaurus ferox on the Coast of New Zealand.

[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 3rd July, 1901.]

Plate IX.

Last September three specimens of this fish were found on the beach at Riversdale, sixteen miles south of Castle Point, on the east coast of Wellington. Some time later photographs of two of them were sent to me for determination.* One photograph (Plate IX.) was of a dried head, and is sufficient to settle the genus to which the fish belongs. The other photograph is of a whole fish. It is very inferior to the first, but sufficient can be made out to corroborate the conclusion arrived at from the skull.

The skull closely resembles the figure of the Tasmanian specimen, but differs in the numbers of the large lanceolate teeth in the jaws. In the New Zealand specimen there are two anterior and one median large teeth on each side of the upper jaw. The lower jaw has three pairs of large teeth situated in the middle of the jaw, and opposing the two pairs of anterior teeth of the upper jaw. Also, there is a smaller pair of large teeth near the end of the lower jaw.

Judging from the photograph of the whole fish, I should say that the length of the head was about one-fifth of the whole length, without the caudal, and that the length of the gape was about one-eighth of the length. The dorsal fin is much elevated. The pectorals are long, but terminate at a considerable distance from the ventrals. The caudal lobes are, apparently, equal in length.


Alepisaurus ferox, Lowe. Trans. Zool. Soc. London, vol. 1, p. 395, pl. 59 (1835).

Alepisaurus sp., Richardson. Voy. Ereb. and Terr., Fish, p. 34, pl. 22, figs. 1–4 (1844).

Alepidosaurus ferox, Gunther. Cat. Fishes in Brit. Mus., vol. 5, p. 421 (1864).

Plagodus ferox, Gunther. “Study of Fishes,” p. 586, fig. 270 (1880).

Plagodus ferox, Gunther. “Challenger Reports,” vol. 22, p. 203, Deep-sea Fishes (1887).

Alepisaurus ferox, Good and Bean. “Oceanic Ichthyology,” p. 117, pl. 38, fig. 142 (1895).

[Footnote] * By Mr. R. Barcham, of Masterton.