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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  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),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-05-28


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 28-05-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 22/05/2008