One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(chiefly of fish) living close to the floor of the sea or a lake.Often contrasted with pelagic
- ‘A small beginning has been made to developing the theory of metapopulations of demersal fishes, frequently in the context of reef fish management.’
- ‘The starkest fact highlighting the plight of fishing is that the amount of adult demersal fish - those living on the seabed - has fallen by 90 per cent since the early 1970s.’
- ‘These fish have demersal eggs, but do not bury the eggs and do not attach them to specific substrates.’
- ‘Groundfish are demersal fish species; such as cod, halibut, haddock, and pollock, that feed at or near the ocean floor.’
- ‘In the winter they will fish for the demersal species and due to their small salmon quota it is no longer a major fishing option in the summer months.’
Late 19th century: from Latin demersus (past participle of demergere ‘submerge, sink’, from de- ‘down’ + mergere ‘plunge’) + -al.
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