Animalia – Chordata – Osteichthyes – Actinopterygii – Beryciformes
Kingdom Phylum Superclass Class Order

The etymology for the name Beryciformes has no significant historical meaning, though the suffix –iformes is used in taxonomic names of animals that share the same shape, especially prevalent in orders of birds and fish (McCarthy 2010). There are 7 families, consisting of 144 species in total, that make up this order of fishes (Nelson 2006).


Ostichthys delta

Beryciformes are a very diverse order of ray-finned, marine fishes. Characteristics common to all Beryciformes families include “fin spines and ctenoid scales, an upper jaw bordered by the premaxillae, a ductless swim bladder, and absence of a mesocoracoid” (Bailey and Boschung, 2008). Their pelvic fin has one spine, and can have between 3 and 13 soft rays. Beryciformes have either 18 or 19 rays on their caudal fins depending on the species, and generally do not exceed 61cm. Very little is known about the life history of Beryciformes. The oldest known specimen was an Orange Roughy that was determined to be 149 years old (Danson and D’Orso 2011). It is believed that Beryciformes reproduce via external fertilization and that they are not hermaphrodites nor are they able to partake in sex reversal. They are born a specific gender and remain that gender throughout their lives ( The reason that so little is known about their life history may be due to the fact that their environment of deep waters is largely inaccessible and unavailable for scientists to conduct research. There is a lot of variation within the species of this order and there are not many characteristics shared by all species that fall under the order Beryciformes. However, there are a few distinguishing features among all species in this order. One of these is the Jakubowski’s organ, which is a modification to the anterior of the supraorbital and infraorbital sensory canals, or the sensory canals just above and below the eye (Nelson 2006). Some species have also developed bioluminescence as a means of signaling and communication which separates them from other species of fish ( Many Beryciformes have extremely large eyes. The large structure of the eye evolved to serve the function of seeing in the low light environment of the deep waters. The overall structure of Beryciformes is relatively similar to the perch that was observed in lab. Beryciformes are bony fish and they belong to the same class as perch, Actinopterygii, which represents all ray-finned fish. One physical constraint that affects Beryciformes is their habitat. Most of the species exist in very deep waters. Some live as deep as 5,000 meters. There is little light at these depths, impairing vision. Also, the sun provides many nutrients and being so far away can prevent nutrient intake. One phylogenetic constraint is the fact that some species, such as the orange roughy, reach sexual maturity late in their lives and also have sporadic reproduction. Due to this, they have higher chances of dying before being able to reproduce which can reduce their future population sizes (Lack et al. 2003).

Bailey, R. M. and Boschung, H. 2008. “Beryciformes”. AccessScience. McGraw-Hill Companies. < > Danson, T. and D’Orso, M. Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and what we can do to save them. New York: Rodale Inc., 2011. Pp. 166-170. Gale Group. “Beryciformes.” Jiffynotes. Oct 2 2011. Lack, M., Short, K. and Willock, A. Managing risk and uncertainty in deep-sea fisheries: Lessons from the Orange Roughy. WWF. 2003. McCarthy, Eugene. “Root Word Dictionary.” Oct 2 2011. Nelson, J.S. Fishes of the World. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2006.

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