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Armoured flathead

Armoured flathead

The armoured flathead or deepsea flathead, Hoplichthys haswelli, is a ghost flathead of the family Hoplichthyidae, found in the southwest Pacific Ocean, at depths between 140 and 700 m. Its length is up to 43 cm.

The armoured flathead is an extremely flattened deepsea fish with a huge flat head accounting for almost a third of the total length of the fish. Behind this is a tapering body that is rectangular in cross-section. Close together on top of the head are set two slightly raised eyes, and the huge mouth splits apart most of the snout when it is opened. The head is partly covered in rough bony plates and the body, although scaleless, has a row of 27 spined, bony scutes down each lateral line.

The fish is pink-red above and white below, and spends most of the time resting on open sand bottoms. Their diet is thought to be bottom-living invertebrates with the occasional small fish.

References

  • Tony Ayling & Geoffrey Cox, Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand, (William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand 1982) ISBN 0-00-216987-8
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