Scabbard Fish

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

scabbard fish long, thin, and usually silvery fish of the family Trichiuridae, are found in many parts of the world. The English names which have been used for them include hairtail (for those species whose tail ends in a point, rather than being forked), cutlass fish and sabre fish, ribbon fish, and (in the southern hemisphere. frostfish. An interesting variation on these themes is provided by an alternative name in the Philippines: bolungonas, meaning sugar cane leaf. Trichiurus lepturus is a common species; but there are also Eupleurogrammus muticus (tin white in colour, accounting for the emphatic Malay name timah-timah, meaning tin-tin) and Lepturacanthus savala, whose range extends to Australia. The frostfish of New Zealand, so called because often found washed ashore in large numbers on frosty nights, is Lepidopus caudatus. This is also the largest, and occurs globally. The maximum length of the various species varies from about 1 to 2 m (3–6'). Another Atlantic species, Aphanopus carbo, is the dominant fish in the catch at Madeira, besides being taken frequently off the Portuguese coast; it likes deep water and is of a blackish colour.