Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory



Ephippidae: <I>Rhinoprenes</I>

Ephippidae: Rhinoprenes

<I>Zabidus</I>, holotype of <I>Platax novemaculeatus</I>

Zabidus, holotype of Platax novemaculeatus


Regional Maps

External Links

CAAB: 37362000


Batfishes, Spadefishes

Compiler and date details

20 December 2006 - Gerald R. Allen, Norbet J. Cross & Connie J. Allen

23 Apriil 2013 - Gerald R. Allen, Norbert J. Cross, Connie J. Allen, Douglass F. Hoese & Matthew Lockett


The family Ephippidae as recognised here includes genera previously assigned to the Platacidae and Rhinoprenidae. Thus the family contains approximately 11 species in six genera, widely distributed in tropical and subtropical waters of the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic (Nelson 2006). Six species in three genera are found in Australia.

Batfishes frequent inshore waters, sometimes entering estuaries. Some species are confined mainly to coral reefs, others prefer coastal reefs in relatively turbid water. Some species of Platax form large, conspicuous aggregations which may contain up to 30 or more individuals. The diet consists of benthic invertebrates and zooplankton. The very deep, nearly circular, body shape and elongate dorsal and anal fins in the juvenile stages are diagnostic. The maximum length is 50–60 cm.

The Australian batfishes are dealt with by Taylor (1964). He also provided a key to the genera and most species as well as illustrations of three of the four species of Platax. Randall et al. (1990, 1997) provided colour illustrations and diagnoses of Platax and Zabidius. More recently, Heemstra (2001) presented keys to most species from the western Pacific and Kuiter & Debelius (2001) detailed the world species.

The monotypic family Rhinoprenidae, commonly known as roundsnouts is also included here following Nelson (1994). Rhinoprenes pentanemus was treated and illustrated by Munro (1964). It inhabits inshore marine and estuarine waters at depths between about 5 and 25 m, frequently off river mouths in northern Australia (including Arafura and Timor seas) and southern New Guinea (Gulf of Papua). The maximum length is about 16 cm.


General References

Heemstra, P.C. 2001. Ephippidae. pp. 3611-3622 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Kuiter, R.H. & Debelius, H. 2001. Surgeonfishes, Rabbitfishes and Their Relatives. A comprehensive guide to Acanthuroidei. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 208 pp.

McCulloch, A.R. 1916. Report on some fishes obtained by the F.I.S. Endeavour on the coasts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South and South-Western Australia. Part 4. Biological Results of the Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavour 1909-1914 4(4): 169-199 figs 1-2 pls 49-58 [pl. 55]

McCulloch, A.R. 1922. Checklist of the fish and fish-like animals of New South Wales. Part 3. The Australian Zoologist 2(3): 86-130 figs 25-43

Munro, I.S.R. 1964. Additions to the fish fauna of New Guinea. Papua and New Guinea Agricultural Journal 16(4): 141-186

Nelson, J.S. 1994. Fishes of the World. New York : John Wiley & Sons 600 pp.

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Taylor, W.R. 1964. Fishes of Arnhem Land. Records of the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land 4: 44-307 figs 1-68


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)
11-Jun-2013 11-Jun-2013 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)