Falkland Islands Fisheries Department

Patagonian Toothfish - TOO

Common Names

Toothfish (UK), Merluza negra (SP), Antar (PO), Ookuchi, Mero (JA), Légine australe (FR)

Scientific Name

Dissostichus eleginoides


Body elongate, compressed, with depressed head. Snout long, eye small (16% of head length). Single nostril with small flap. Mouth large, oblique, protrusible, posterior end extending to middle of eye; lower jaw projecting well anterior to upper jaw; fleshy lips well developed on both jaws. Jaw teeth sharply conical; several large teeth in upper jaw; sparsely spaced teeth on lower jaw; no teeth on vomer or palatines. Gill rakers nub-like; pseudobranchiae present. Scales small, cycloid; scales on upper surface of head end at anterior margin of eye (upper snout naked). Lateral line double, both nearly straight; lower line extending forward over or nearly to pectoral fin. Pectoral fins large and fan-like, the upper rays longest, reaching slightly past anal fin origin. Pelvic fin reaching slightly past pectoral fin base. Two dorsal fins, first dorsal fin base short with 8-10 flexible spines, second dorsal fin base long with 26-30 soft rays. Anal fin base shorter than second dorsal, with the insertion posterior to 2nd dorsal fin insertion. Caudal fin emarginate. Body colouration dark green to brownish-grey, with indistinct darker blotches.

Size Range

From 30 to 215 cm

Depth Range

From 70 to 1500 m


Demersal, throughout the FICZ/FOCZ as well as circumpolar: South Georgia, Kerguelen, New Zealand, North along the continental shelf (Pacific & Atlantic).

Fishery Status

Longliners, operating in waters deeper than 600 m, using squid and sardine baits, have successfully targeted large specimens (1 to 1.7 m total length) of this species. Taken also as bycatch by bottom trawlers in the Loligo fishery.

Additional Information

This species is commonly eaten by sperm whales. It feeds on other fishes and cephalopods.