Orange RoughyOrange Roughy

     The Orange Roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus) is a member of the slimehead family (Trachichthyidae). This species is found between 180 - 1800m in depth across much of the world's oceans, is slow growing, late to mature (20-30 years), and is remarkably long lived (up to 150 years). It forms the basis for an important fishery and is considered extremely susceptible to overfishing with stock crashes reported in the southern fishing grounds around New Zealand and Australia. 


Orange Roughy in a Net


     Because orange roughly have a brief larval stage (10 days) and relatively low fecundity it was suspected that this species would exhibit evidence of restricted gene flow. However, studies based on mitochondrial sequences data (Varela et al. 2012) and microsatellites (White et al. 2009) indicate the opposite with little population structure across much of the species range (Namibia was the exception).



Varela AI, Ritchie PA, Smith PJ (2012) Low levels of global genetic differentiation and population expansion in the deep-sea
teleost Hoplostethus atlanticus revealed by mitochondrial DNA sequences. Mar. Biol. 159: 1049–1060.
White TA, Stefanni S, Stamford J, Hoelzel AR (2009) Unexpected panmixia in a long-lived, deep-sea fish with well-defined
spawning habitat and relatively low fecundity. Mol. Ecol. 18, 2563-2673.