Demersal Fish – Profile | Examples | Tail | Types | Facts

demersal fish
(Last Updated On: April 14, 2021)

Demersal fish is also referred to as groundfish, dwell and feed on or close to the underside of seas or lakes at the demersal zone. In another word, Demersal fish are special types of fishes which live on, or near to the bottom of water sources, lakes or seas.

This area of the water where this fish resides is called the Demersal Zone and this is the very area where demersal fish live and feed at the same time. Some say these fish as ‘bottom feeders’ as they feed on the bottom of the ocean or lake.

This article will give an overview of demersal fish examples, tail, types, freshwater demersal fish, pelagic and demersal fish, and representative species.

Demersal fish profile

A demersal fish occupies the ocean flooring and lake beds, which often encompass mud, sand, gravel, or rocks.

In coastal waters, they’re discovered on or close to the continental shelf, and in deep waters, they’re discovered on or close to the continental slope or alongside the continental rise.

They aren’t usually discovered within the deepest waters, corresponding to abyssal depths or on the abyssal plain, however, they are often discovered around seamounts and islands.

The phrase demersal comes from the Latin demergers, which implies to sink.

Demersal fish are backside feeders. They are often contrasted with pelagic fish that dwell and feed away from the underside within the open water column.

Demersal fish fillets comprise little fish oil (one to 4 p.c), whereas pelagic fish can comprise as much as 30 p.c.

Demersal fish types

Demersal fish might be divided into two important varieties: strictly benthic fish which might relax on the seafloor, and benthopelagic fish which might float within the water column simply above the seafloor.

Benthopelagic fish have impartial buoyancy, to allow them to float at depth without a lot of effort, whereas strictly benthic fish are denser, with detrimental buoyancy to allow them to lie on the underside with no effort. Most demersal fish are benthopelagic.

Demersal fish Habitats

The sting of the continental shelf marks the boundary the place the shelf offers a method to, after which step by step drops into abyssal depths.

This edge marks the boundary between coastal, comparatively shallow, benthic habitats, and the deep benthic habitats.

Coastal Demersal fish dwells on the underside of inshore waters, corresponding to bays and estuaries, and additional out, on the ground of the continental shelf.

Deepwater demersal fish dwell past this edge, principally down the continental slopes and alongside the continental rises which drop to the abyssal plains.

That is the continental margin, constituting about 28% of the overall oceanic space. Different deep-sea demersal fish will also be discovered around seamounts and islands.

During the time period, bathy demersal fish is usually used as a substitute for “deepwater demersal fish”. Bathydemersal refers to demersal fish that dwell at depths higher than 200 meters.

The time period epibenthic can be used to consult with an organism that dwells on prime of the ocean ground, as opposed to people who burrow into the seafloor substrate.

Nonetheless, the phrases mesodemersal, epidemersal, mesobenthic, and bathybenthic aren’t used.

Feeding and Diets

Most demersal fish are carnivores, typically grouped into three classes: piscivores, benthophages, and zooplanktivores that predominantly eat fish, benthos, and zooplankton, respectively.

In lots of areas, the manufacturing of benthic meals is low or sluggish in contrast with the pelagic manufacturing, and in a spread of demersal fish communities, there are literally, surprisingly few fully benthophagous fishes, that’s, which feed on epi- or infauna.

A number of demersal species rely on pelagic manufacturing by feeding on vertically migrating nekton and zooplankton coming into or residing within the near-bottom layer.

demersal fish

Piscivores often have the capability to cope with dwell prey which might be massive in contrast with their very own physique dimension, therefore they have an inclination to have massive gapes. Some swallow their prey entire, others tear and chew the prey into smaller items.

, the methods fluctuate extensively between species throughout the demersal fish group. Piscivores might both be energetic hunters, stealthers, or ambush predators.

The latter two are sometimes properly camouflaged and procure their prey by slowly approaching the prey or a ‘lie-and-wait’ technique.

Stealthers rush ahead to assault and grip the prey, whereas ‘lie-and-wait’ strategists might instantly open their massive mouth and ingest the prey by suction (e.g., the monkfish).

Piscivores usually have a number of rows of the conical backward-pointing teeth, each on the jaws and throughout the mouth and pharynx. These primarily forestall the prey from escaping and assist in swallowing.

Benthophagous fishes even have prey seize strategies. Some apply suction after having detected prey on the floor of the sediment or throughout the sediment (e.g., many flatfishes and haddock); others chew off, for instance, the siphons of buried bivalves or the arms of brittle stars.

Others feed on shelled animals and have very muscular jaws, and each jaw and pharyngeal dentition tailored to crushing bivalve mollusks, coral, and sea urchins.

Examples are the wolffishes (Anarichadidae) of boreal waters, and the parrotfishes (Sparidae) of hotter areas, and likewise many flatfishes that feed on bivalves or different animals with laborious exoskeletons.

Zooplanktivores typically lack dentition on the jaws and depend on suction for ingesting their quite small prey entire.

Most species in all probability choose their prey one after the other quite than filter-feed as clupeids and mackerels do at excessive prey densities.

A most spectacular adaptation is seen among the many sand eels (Ammodytidae) the place the jaw is protrusible to the extent that the mouth dimension at prey seize turns into surprisingly massive in contrast with the small head of the fish.


Main demersal fishery species within the North Sea corresponding to cod, plaice, monkfish, and sole, are listed by the ICES as “outdoors protected organic limits.”

The True Sole solea solea is sufficiently broadly distributed that it isn’t thought of as a threatened species; nonetheless, overfishing in Europe has produced severely diminished populations, with declining catches in lots of areas.

For instance, the western English Channel and Irish Sea sole fisheries face potential collapse in keeping with information within the UK Biodiversity Motion Plan.

Demersal fish

Sole, together with the opposite main bottom-feeding fish within the North Sea corresponding to cod, monkfish, and plaice, is listed by the ICES as “outdoors protected organic limits.” Furthermore, they’re rising much less rapidly now and are hardly ever older than six years, though they’ll attain forty.

World shares of huge predatory fish and enormous floor fish corresponding to sole and flounder have been estimated in 2003 to be solely about 10% of pre-industrial ranges.

In keeping with the World Wildlife Fund in 2006, “of the 9 sole shares, seven are overfished with the standing of the remaining two unknown.”

Knowledge is inadequate to evaluate the remaining shares; nonetheless, landings for all shares are at or close to historic lows.”

World shares of huge predatory fish and enormous floor fish corresponding to sole and flounder have been estimated in 2003 to be solely about 10% of pre-industrial ranges, largely as a result of overfishing. Most overfishing is because of the in-depth actions of the fishing business.

The present analysis points out that the flounder inhabitants could possibly be as little as 15 million as a result of heavy overfishing and industrial air pollution alongside the Gulf of Mexico surrounding the coast of Texas.

Seafood Watch has positioned on their checklist of seafood that sustainability-minded customers ought to keep away from the next demersal fish:

sturgeon (imported wild), Chilean seabass, cod (Atlantic, imported Pacific), flounder (Atlantic), halibut (Atlantic), sole (Atlantic), grouper, monkfish, orange roughy, demersal shark, pink snapper, and tilapia (Asia farmed).

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