Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


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CAAB: 37209002

Species Brachionichthys hirsutus (Lacépède, 1804)

Spotted Handfish, Spotted Hand Fish

Compiler and date details

21 June 2011 - Dianne J. Bray


Miscellaneous Literature Names



The species was listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 1996 and is on the latest list of 2014. It was also listed as Critically Endangered under the Commonwealth EPBC Act 1999 in 2012 and in Tasmania under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 in 2012.





Extra Distribution Information

Derwent Estuary to north-eastern Tasmania; temperate.

Australian Endemic.

IBRA and IMCRA regions (map not available)


Bass Strait Shelf Province (35), Tasmanian Shelf Province (36)

Ecological Descriptors

Benthic, continental shelf, estuary, inshore, soft bottom.

Extra Ecological Information

Depth range: 0-60 m.


General References

Bruce, B. & Last, P. 2011. Brachionichthys hirsutus. IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. [Downloaded on 22 June 2011]

Bruce, B.D., Green, M.A. & Last, P.R. 1998. Threatened fishes of the world: Brachionichthys hirsutus (Lacépède, 1804) (Brachionichthyidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 52: 416–417

Bruce, B.D., Green, M.A. & Last, P.R. 1999. Aspects of the biology of the endangered spotted handfish, Brachionichthys hirsutus (Lophiiformes: Brachionichthyidae) off southern Australia. pp. 369-380 in Séret B. & Sire, J.-Y. (eds). Proceedings of the 5th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference, Nouméa, 3-8 November 1997. Paris : Société Française d'Ichtyologie 888 pp.

Carnevale, G. & T.W. Pietsch 2010. Eocene handfishes from Monte Bolca, with description of a new genus and species, and a phylogeny of the family Brachionichthyidae (Teleostei: Lophiiformes). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 160: 621–647, with 13 figs

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp. [56]

Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) 2004. Issues Paper: Population status of an threats to four handfish species listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra. (Accessed 21 June 2011)

Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) 21 June 2011. Recovery Plan for the following species of handfish: Spotted handfish — Brachionichthys hirsutus, Red handfish — Brachionichthys politus, Ziebell's handfish — Sympterichthys sp. [CSIRO #T6.01], Waterfall Bay handfish — Sympterichthys sp. [CSIRO #T1996.01]. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra. [original version 25 October 2005]. (Accessed 16 December 2011)

Green, M.A. & Bruce, B.D. 2000. Spotted handfish recovery plan. Final report: Year 1 (1999). CSIRO, Hobart.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. [33]

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. [46]

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. [40]

Last, P.R., Gledhill, D.C. & Holmes, B.H. 2007. A new handfish, Brachionichthys australis sp. nov. (Lophiiformes: Brachionichthyidae), with a redescription of the critically endangered spotted handfish, B. hirsutus (Lacepède). Zootaxa 1666: 53-68 [55, figs 1–2]

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs. [252–253, fig. 22.4]

Last, P.R. & Bruce, B.D. 1997. Spotted handfish. Nature Australia 25: 20–21

Last, P.R. & Gledhill, D.C. 2009. A revision of the Australian handfishes (Lophiiformes: Brachionichthyidae), with descriptions of three new genera and nine new species. Zootaxa 2252: 1-77 [13]

Last, P.R. & Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Brachionichthyidae: Handfishes. pp. 375-376 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. [375]

McCulloch, A.R. 1929. A check-list of the fishes recorded from Australia. Part III. Records of the Australian Museum 5: 329–436 [409] (in part, as Brachionichthys hirsutus)

Paxton, J.R., Gates, J.E. & Hoese, D.F. 2006. Brachionichthyidae. pp. 647–649 in Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. Fishes. In, Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 35. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp.

Paxton, J.R., Hoese, D.F., Allen, G.R. & Hanley, J.E. (eds) 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Pisces: Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service Vol. 7 665 pp. [275]

Whitley, G.P. 1949. The handfish. Australian Museum Magazine 9(12): 398-403 [402]

Whitley, G.P. 1964. A survey of Australian Ichthyology. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 89(1): 11-127 [57] (2298, in part, as Brachionichthys hirsutus)


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
25-Jun-2015 LOPHIIFORMES 14-Jul-2016 MODIFIED Dr Dianne Bray (NMV) Dr Doug Hoese (AM) Dr Matthew Lockett (AM)
20-Aug-2013 MODIFIED