#SundayFishSketch| Alcock’s Spikefish

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This #SundayFishSketch comes from Ichthyologist, Rene Martin. Visit her shop on InPrint to see more of her artwork or to order prints!

Meet the Alcock’s Spikefish

Halimochirurgus alcocki

Alcock’s Spikefish, Halimochirurgus alcocki. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial


The Alcock’s Spikefish, also known as the Longsnout Spikefish is a deep water (1279 to 2000 feet deep, in fact) fish living in the oceans of the Indo-Pacific regions—East Africa to Australia, north to the Philippines and further to Japan.

Not much is known about this particular Spikefish, but much more is known about the overall family to which they belong, Triacanthodidae, colloquially referred to as the Spikefish (surprise, surprise, right?)

Spikefish, the family, are ray-finned species including other fishes such as pufferfish and triggerfish. Some, like our alcocki have long tubular snouts, while others are box like, flat, angular, round, spikeless, or even possess specialized teeth for scraping the gunk off of other fish in need of a good scrub. Of course, pufferfish are widely known for their namesake puffing action, as well. The diversity seen in the overall family alone is astounding.

On one final note, some of you may have seen similar images as the one you are about to—the skeleton of a puffer fish. Most do not realize that the spikes are actually part of the overall skeleton and form a dense network. These spike are actually made from nanocrystalline hydroxyapatite, collagen, and water, and are essentially just modified scales. So, I think the award for most metal skeleton goes to (no, not wolverine) the pufferfish.

Pufferfish, Skeleton, Tetraodontidae, Animal, Dead


Halimochirurgus alcocki in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jan 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4198

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