How long do they live? Warty Oreos can live up to 170 years old [1]. Think about it: If we randomly pull a fish out of the water that happens to be the oldest known of the species, it’s likely that it’s not alone and it’s even less likely that it’s actually the oldest. I found a few sources stating that one Warty Oreo was estimated to be 210 years old, but I never tracked down the original source of this claim.

Where are they found? Warty Oreos (I just like typing this name) are found 800  to 1200 meters below the surface of the Eastern Atlantic,  Eastern Indian and the South Pacific Oceans [2].

What do they eat? They eat other fish, cephalopods, and shrimp [3].

What do they look like? They’re kind of small compared to other long-lived fish. Warty Oreos are a blackish colored fish that can weigh up to 4 pounds [2]. I couldn’t find an approved reusable picture online, so here is a link to website with a great picture of a Warty Oreo.

fmib_45626_allocyttus_verrucosus-jpeg
Figure 1. A really wonderful artist rendition of a Warty Oreo.

How do they reproduce? Warty Oreos reach maturity around 24 to 30 years old [1] and reproduce by spawning [4].

How do scientists know how old they are? Otolith counts and radiometric analysis [1]

So what are we lacking? There’s no information regarding the nuclear genome of Allocyttus verrucosus on NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information). Like many of the long-lived fish, we just don’t know much about these species, especially in regards to their genetics, molecular biology and reproductive capacity into old age.

Conservation status: Least concern by the IUCN. That’s good news!

Please contact me if you have information you’d like to share about this species or any of the species on this website.

  1. Stewart, B. D., et al. “Validation of otolith-increment age estimates for a deepwater fish species, the warty oreo Allocyttus verrucosus, by radiometric analysis.” Marine biology 123.1 (1995): 29-38.
  2. Fishbase. Allocyttus verrucosus. http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Allocyttus-verrucosus.html. Accessed: 9/11/2016
  3. Oreosomatidae. p. 438-440. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths’ sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
  4. Lyle, J. M., and D. C. Smith. “Abundance and biology of warty oreo (Allocyttus verrucosus) and spiky oreo (Neocyttus rhomboidalis)(Oreosomatidae) off south-eastern Australia.” Marine and freshwater research 48.2 (1997): 91-102.