Australian Biological Resources Study

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CAAB: 37211000


Anglerfishes, Coffinfishes, Gapers, Sea Toads

Compiler and date details

14 May 2015 - Dianne J. Bray, Douglass F. Hoese, John R. Paxton & Jennifer E. Gates

John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates, Dianne J. Bray & Douglass F. Hoese


The Chaunacidae comprise two genera and about 21 species (Ho & Last 2013; Ho & McGrouther 2015). Both genera and eight described species have been collected in Australian waters.

Coffinfishes are benthic in shelf and slope waters of all three oceans. Like other families of the Lophiiformes, chaunacids have a fishing lure over the mouth, formed by modification of a dorsal spine; no other dorsal spines are present. Coffinfishes are covered with small, spiny scales that give them a distinctive 'fuzzy' texture. Maximum size is about 25 cm.

Two species were described from the west Pacific by Le Danois (1978), and Le Danois (1979) revised the family. Caruso (1989a) revised Bathychaunax. Atlantic species were treated by Caruso (1989b). Family relationships were considered by Pietsch (1984), who indicated that one genus and up to 12 species are valid. Caruso (1999) indicated that Chaunax is in need of revision and that names are provisional. Subsequently, a series of papers have dealt with many of the Australian species (Ho & Last 2013; Ho & Shao 2010; Ho & McGrouther 2015).

A large amount of unidentified material is available in Australian museums, and additional species are likely to be found in Australia.

J.H. Caruso kindly commented on earlier versions of this account and H.-C. Ho provided information about distributions of Australian species..


General References

Caruso, J.H. 1989a. A review of the Indo-Pacific members of the deep-water chaunacid anglerfish genus Bathychaunax, with the description of a new species from the eastern Indian Ocean (Pisces: Lophiiformes). Bulletin of Marine Science 45(3): 574-579

Caruso, J.H. 1989b. Systematics and distribution of Atlantic chaunacid anglerfishes (Pisces: Lophiiformes). Copeia 1989(1): 153-165

Caruso, J.H. 1999. Family Chaunacidae. pp. 2020-2021 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Ho, H.-C. & McGrouther, M. 2015. A new anglerfish from eastern Australia and New Caledonia (Lophiiformes: Chaunacidae: Chaunacops), with new data and submersible observation of Chaunacops melanostomus. Journal of Fish Biology

Ho, H.-C. & Shao, K.-T. 2010. A new species of Chaunax (Lophiiformes: Chaunacidae) from the western South Pacific, with comments on C. latipunctatus. Zootaxa 2445: 53-61

Ho, H-C & Last, P.L. 2013. Two new species of the coffinfish genus Chaunax (Lophiiformes: Chaunacidae) from the Indian Ocean. Zootaxa 3710(5): 436–448

Le Danois, Y. 1978. Description de deux nouvelles espèces de Chaunacidae (Pisces Pediculati). Cybium 3(4): 87-93 figs 1-6

Le Danois, Y. 1979. Révision systématique de la famille des Chaunacidae (Pisces Pediculati). UO. Japanese Society of Ichthyologists 30: 1-76

Pietsch, T.W. 1984. Lophiiformes: development and relationships. pp. 320-325 figs 164-166 in Moser, H.G. et al. (eds). Ontogeny and Systematics of Fishes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Special Publication 1: 1-760


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-May-2015 MODIFIED Dr Dianne Bray (NMV) Dr Doug Hoese (AM) Dr Matthew Lockett (AM)
12-Feb-2010 (import)