Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




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CAAB: 37081000


Goanna Fish, Goannafish, Halosaurs

Compiler and date details

28 February 2018 - Dianne J. Bray, John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates & Douglass F. Hoese

20 April 2012 - Dianne J. Bray, John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates & Douglass F. Hoese

2006 - John R. Paxton, Jennifer E. Gates, Dianne J. Bray & Douglass F. Hoese - originally published as Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35


Members of the Halosauridae were revised by McDowell (1973), who recognised 14 species in three genera worldwide. Nelson (1994, 2006) recognised 15 species in three genera. Nelson et al. (2016) included 16 species in three genera. The Australian fauna includes five species in three genera. Additional undescribed species may occur off the west coast (Williams et al. 2006, and CSIRO unpubl.)

Goanna fishes or halosaurs are benthic fishes found worldwide on continental slopes at depths to 5000 m. They grow to a maximum size of 68 cm, and have a leptocephalus larval stage like other elopomorph fishes.

Smith (1999) presented a key to genera and the Australian species were treated in Paxton et al. (2006). Paulin & Moreland (1979) reviewed three species from the south-west Pacific, including two from Australia. Shelyagin (2010) described the osteology of representatives of the three genera.


General References

McDowell, S.B. 1973. Suborder Halosauroidei, family Halosauridae. In, Cohen, D.M. (ed.) Fishes of the western North Atlantic. Memoir. Sears Foundation of Marine Research 1(6): 32-123 figs 6-13

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. [113]

Nelson, J.S., Grande, T.C. & Wilson, M.V.H. 2016. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons 5, 752 pp.

Paulin, C.D. & Moreland, J.M. 1979. Halosauridae of the south-west Pacific (Pisces: Teleostei : Notocanthiformes). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 6(2): 267-271 fig. 1

Paxton, J.R., J.E. Gates, D.J. Bray & D.F. Hoese 2006. Halosauridae. pp. 229-231 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.

Shelyagin, D.I. 2010. Osteology of Halosauridae (Notacanthiformes). Journal of Ichthyology 50(7): 512-518

Smith, D.G. 1999. Families Halosauridae, Notacanthidae, Lipogenyidae, Anguillidae, Moringuidae, Chlopsidae, Myrocongridae. pp. 1625-1642 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.

Williams, A., Last, P.R., Gomon, M.F. & Paxton, J.R. 1996. Species composition and checklist of the demersal ichthyofauna of the continental slope off Western Australia (20–35º). Records of the Western Australian Museum 18: 135-155 [145]


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)
05-Mar-2019 ELOPOMORPHA 03-Oct-2018 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese (AM)
27-Jul-2016 NOTACANTHIFORMES 30-Aug-2013 MODIFIED Dr Dianne Bray (NMV) Dr Doug Hoese (AM) Dr Matthew Lockett (AM)
26-Jul-2010 MODIFIED