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Table of Contents

The grenadiers are characterized externally by having large heads, projecting snouts, and slender bodies that taper to whiplike tails, with no definitely demarked caudal fin. They have two dorsal fins, the first high, the second very low but occupying the greater part of the back. The anal fin is nearly as long as the second dorsal, or longer.

The grenadiers are allied to the cod family, in classification, by the structure of their skull, but they differ from the cod tribe in having one stout spine in the first dorsal fin. They are deep-sea fishes, living on the bottom, loose in texture and weak swimmers. Many species are known, but only three of them have ever been taken within the confines of the Gulf of Maine.

Besides the species described below, three others, Coryphaenoides rupestris, C. carapinus and Nematonurus armatus,[97] have been taken on the continental slope abreast of the Gulf and off southern New England often enough to show that they are common there below 350 fathoms. They are typical inhabitants of the deep-sea floor, never likely to rise shoal enough to come within the limits of the Gulf of Maine.[98] But fish have a way of straying, and if any grenadier should be picked up in the Gulf that proves difficult to identify, we recommend forwarding it either to the Laboratory of the Fish and Wildlife Service at Woods Hole, to the U. S. National Museum, Washington, D. C., or to the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Mass., to be named. Parr[99] has recently published a detailed synopsis of all the species known from the western North Atlantic and from central American seas.

1. The dorsal spine is perfectly smooth Long-nosed grenadier, p. 246
The dorsal spine is serrated, with teeth which can be felt if not seen 2  
2. The vent is considerably in front of the origin of the anal fin; the skin surrounding the vent is naked and black; the dorsal fin spine is strongly serrated Common grenadier, p. 243
The vent is close to the origin of the anal fin; the skin around the vent is scaly and pale colored; the serrations on dorsal fin spine are so fine that they are hardly visible, though they can be felt Rough-headed grenadier, p. 245

[97] According to Parr (Bull. Bingham Oceanogr. Coll., vol. 10, art. 1, 1946, p. 54) this is the correct name of the grenadier that was reported by Goode and Bean (Smithson. Contrib. Knowl., vol. 30, 1895, p. 407) as Hymenocephalus goodei Günther, 1887.

[98] For descriptions and lists of localities where they were taken during the early cruises by vessels of the U. S. Fish Commission, see Goode and Bean (Smithson. Contrib. Knowl., vol. 30, 1895). In June 1949 we trawled about 200 rupestris on the slope off southern Nova Scotia and off the southeastern face of Georges Bank, at 290-420 fathoms, from Caryn of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

[99] Bull. Bingham Oceanographic Coll., vol. 10, art. 1, 1946.