The Marine Life Information Network

Information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles


Roundnose grenadier (Coryphaenoides rupestris)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Coryphaenoides rupestris is a member of the rattail family. Rattails, also known as grenadiers, resemble a large tadpole by having a characteristically large and broad head and a body that rapidly tapers into a moderately long thin whip-like tail. It has one small dorsal fin and a long continuous ventral fin. The roundnose grenadier reaches up to 1.1 m. It has a broad rounded snout with a large blunt knob-like scute at its tip. It has very large eyes but a small mouth. A small barbel is present on the chin. The body is brownish-grey in colour.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded off the south-west and north-west coasts of Ireland, north of the Hebrides and off the coasts of the Shetland Isles in Scotland.

Global distribution



The roundnose grenadier is a demersal and bathypelagis species inhabiting continental shelf and slope waters from a depth of 180 m to more than 2000 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Large head and a long tapered body up to 1.1 m in length.
  • Long continuous fin running ventrally three quarters of the body length to the tip of the tail; partially running back towards the head on the dorsal side.
  • Small relatively forward dorsal fin.
  • Broad rounded snout.
  • Large eyes and a small mouth.

Additional information

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Listed by


  1. Bergstad, O.A., 1990. Distribution, population structure, growth and reproduction of the roundnose grenadier Coryphaenoides rupestris (Pisces: Macrouridae) in the deep waters of the Skagerrak. Marine Biology, 107, 25-39

  2. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line], 2008-02-18

  3. Geistdoerfer, P., 1977. Contribution a la biologie de Coryphaenoides rupestris. Repartition et reproduction dans l'Atlantique nord est. ICES Committee Meeting Papers and Reports, C.M.1977/F:45

  4. Gordon, J.D.M., 1979. The depth distribution of roundnose grenadier (Coryphaenoides rupestris Gunnerus) on the west of Scotland slope. Annales Biologiques, 34, 225-226

  5. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  6. Merrett, N.R. & Heidrich, R.L., 1997. Deep-sea demersal fish and fisheries.

  7. Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.-C., Nielson, J. & Tortonese, E. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Vol. I, II & III. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2023-03-23


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Coryphaenoides rupestris Roundnose grenadier. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 23-03-2023]. Available from:

Last Updated: 22/05/2008