Roughhead grenadier (Macrourus berglax)

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



The roughhead or onion-eye grenadier Macrourus berglax can reach up to 1 m in length. It has a large, broad head about 25% of the body length. The snout is prominent and pointed. The mouth is moderately sized and inferior. A short chin barbel is present. Its relatively short trunk tapers evenly to a pointed tail. It has a tall truncate first dorsal fin, and small, continuous second dorsal and anal fins. The roughhead grenadier is ash grey in colour with a darker chest. The first dorsal and pectoral fins are sooty.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found only off northern Scotland.

Global distribution



The roughhead grenadier is a deep sea benthopelagic species usually found at depths of several hundred metres.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Up to 1 m in length.
  • Large head up to 20 % of body length.
  • Prominent, pointed snout about equal to the eye diameter in length.
  • Chin barbel much less half of the eye diameter in size.
  • Three to five irregular rows of teeth in upper jaw.
  • Anal fin commences behind the posterior of the first dorsal.

Additional information

No text entered

Listed by

- none -


  1. Cohen, D.M., Inada, T., Iwamoto, T. & Scialabba, N., 1990. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform Fishes of the World. An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Cods, Hakes, Grenadiers and Other Gadiform Fishes Known to Date. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Fisheries Synopsies, 125

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

  3. 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.]

  4. 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),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-05-18


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Macrourus berglax Roughhead 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 18-05-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 12/05/2008