Do Oarfish Lay Eggs or Give Birth?

Oarfish don’t give birth. Being massive in structure, people often consider them mammals just like whales. But in reality, Oarfish lay eggs. Just like other fishes, Oarfish lay eggs in the water, and the baby Oarfish are hatched and develop into larvae within 3 weeks. It’s believed that female Oarfish lay around 140,000 eggs during July to December.

Oarfish look massive. And some people mistakenly confuse them with whales and think they’re mammals and give birth to their offspring.

So, the question is, how do Oarfish reproduce? Do Oarfish Lay Eggs or Give birth? If you’ve also come across these questions, don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the reproduction process of Oarfish. So sit tight and read to the end to learn some interesting facts about Oarfish.

Do Oarfish Lay Eggs or Give birth?

Oarfish belong to the family Regalecidae. And members of this family usually reproduce by giving birth to their offspring, just like mammals. But the case for Oarfish is different.

Although Oarfish are extremely mysterious and they’re hardly found on the shore, scientists believe that Oarfish lay eggs, unlike other members of Regalecidae.

Also Read: Oarfish: 20 Incredible but Real Oarfish Facts

Oarfish are broadcast spawners. That means they release their gametes into open water while reproducing or giving birth to their offspring. And the fertilization of the eggs occurs in the water without any parental supervision or care.

Reproduction Process of Oarfish

According to several reports, it’s suggested that Oarfish lay eggs from July to December in tropical and subtropical waters. The ideal time and place for their reproduction are around Mexico.

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Oarfish lay thousands of eggs at a time. And the eggs are laid in temperate water. When the spawning is done, the fertilized eggs remain at the ocean or water surface.

The incubation period of oarfish eggs is around 3 weeks. Until the eggs are hatched, they remain at the ocean’s surface. Once they’re hatched, the baby Oarfish or larvae take a similar form to their parents but in miniature.

Once the eggs are hatched in 3 weeks the baby Oarfish are seen having pigmented eyes, dorsal fins, and a digestive tract.

The larvae, or the baby Oarfish, live on eating plankton in the initial stages. And once they start growing, they start to eat other creatures.

Oarfish receive no immediate support, protection, or care from their parents. And they always live solitarily.

Where Do Oarfish Lay Eggs?

Oarfish lay eggs in the open water or oceans. More specifically, they prefer to lay eggs in the epipelagic or mesopelagic depths of seas, oceans, or any type of water bodies they live in.

That means Oarfish lay eggs at between 200 to 1000 meters depth. So, the question is, how do the eggs even hatch in such depths?

Well, Oarfish lay eggs around plankton or reefs. And the tiny eggs remain attached to the plankton and come near the surface during incubation.

What is the Size of an Oarfish Egg?

As you already know, Oarfish are massive in size. So, it’s quite common to assume that the size of oarfish eggs would be massive too! But in reality, the case is quite the opposite.

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Like other fishes, Oarfish lay eggs in the open water. And to your surprise, Oarfish lay tiny-sized eggs. Typically, the size of eggs ranges from 2 to 4 millimeters.

The eggs of Oarfish are large in size in comparison to other fishes. The eggs are typically cylindrical in shape and mostly orange, pink, or red colored. On top of that, the eggs have several oil droplets in their bodies.

How Many Eggs Do Oarfish Lay at A Time?

Oarfish are mysterious creatures. And that’s why many facts about them still remain undiscovered.

Although the number of eggs laid at a time isn’t fully accurate, scientists believe that Oarfish lay around 140,000.

This information was gathered from a female oarfish that was found on the Floridian Coast. The Oarfish was found around March, and it was dead. And at that time, it had 140,000 eggs in its stomach.

Do All Baby Oarfish Survive?

No, not all baby Oarfish survive after getting hatched or fertilized.

Whether giant Oarfish or tiny seahorses, no one has a 100% survival rate. And on top of that, they live in one of the most dangerous environments full of predators.

As you already know, Oarfish lay around 140,000 eggs. Also, Oarfish are considered extremely rare.

Although no accurate information about their survival rate is found, some eggs of Oarfish are often eaten by predators. Besides, among 140,000 eggs, a huge number of eggs don’t fertilize properly. On top of that, some hatchlings don’t survive till adulthood.

Do Female Oarfish Die After Laying Eggs?

No, female Oarfish don’t die after laying eggs or giving birth to their offspring.

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However, they provide no protection or care to their babies once they are born. The babies need to take care of themselves and find food and shelter by themselves.

The baby Oarfish need to find their food and primarily live on plankton. Besides, there are threads of other big marine creatures. So, the babies need to survive in the dangerous environment all by themselves.

Can Oarfish Lay Eggs in an Aquarium?

Oarfish cannot survive in captives or aquariums for a few hours, let alone laying eggs or giving birth.

Oarfish need temperate saline water conditions with specific water pressure. And this is not possible to maintain in aquariums. That’s why Oarfish don’t survive in aquariums.

So even if you keep a male and a female oarfish together in an aquarium, there’s no chance of their survival.

So, the bottom line is that Oarfish cannot lay eggs or give birth in aquariums.


Being a rare marine creature living in tremendous ocean depths, it’s impossible to know accurate and exact facts about Oarfish. And this also implies the reproduction process.

However, we did the hard work for you and ran in-depth research and brought out certain facts about their reproduction processes, hatching period and post-fertilization actions to enlighten you about this mysterious creature.

So, do Oarfish Lay Eggs or Give birth? Well, we believe you now know better than us, right? Now it’s your turn to share these facts with others and enlighten them. Thank you!

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