Macroramphosidae: L III E5

Macroramphosus scolopax (Linnaeus, 1758).

Slender snipefish.


Egg diameter in µm

Number of oil globules

Diameter of oil globule in µm

Yolk texture

Perivitelline space

Position of oil globule at hatch

Gut length   at eye- pigment stage








59% of NL



Egg: The bright, red-amber oil globule, and rough surfaced, clear yolk, separate this egg from all but LIIIE4. The larva develops dense black pigment, forming an oval ring around the head in vertical view (B, bottom left). Black pigment is also seen on the oil globule, and some black spots are scattered on the yolk near the oil globule. According to my notes, no yellow pigment is seen in the egg. The egg is sometimes slightly oval. Incubation is about 30 hours.

Larva: The NH larva has pigment which can be inferred from that seen in the egg (B). The 3-4 day larva is so distinctive that it is immediately recognisable (C & D). Plate C1 shows myomeres, the smooth finfold edge, and rough finfold texture.  C: 4 days, D: 5 days (22°C).

Despite the size difference, the egg and larva are so similar to LIIA9 that they likely belong to the same genus, and may even be the same species. The egg was fairly rare off Park Rynie, and rearing attempts were unsuccessful. Eight larvae have been barcoded, and matched the barcodes of 7 adult M. scolopax from South Africa (BOLD).


Linked samples Offshore Inshore
Eggs 119 120
Hits 11 6

This egg was rare off Park Rynie, but showed a mid-winter presence (blue graph), as did LIIA9. It was not seen in the DHM samples. Park Rynie linked samples showed equal eggs offshore and inshore, suggesting spawning occurs inside the 30m contour, which is a surprising result for this fairly deep-water fish, but may have been biased by a couple of big samples. See Section 7.3 and Table 1 of the Introductory Notes, for more information on the linked samples.