Tasselsnout Flathead, Thysanophrys cirronasa (Richardson 1848)

Other Names: Rock Flathead, Tassel-snouted Flathead

A Tasselsnout Flathead, Thysanophrys cirronasa, at Shelly Beach, Manly, New South Wales. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

A large flathead with a very large depressed or flattened head with strong spines along the ridges and a large eye with a fringed papilla or iris lappet on the top part. 

Body pale brownish to purplish with several variable darker saddles and blotches; first dorsal fin with a broad dark marginal band and narrow diagonal streaks, caudal fin with weak brown bars.

Cite this page as:
CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research, Thysanophrys cirronasa in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Sep 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3232

Tasselsnout Flathead, Thysanophrys cirronasa (Richardson 1848)

More Info


Endemic to temperate waters of southern Australia, from southern Queensland to about Perth (Western Australia) and around Tasmania. Benthic in estuarine and inshore waters on shallow rocky reefs to about 35 m.


Meristic counts: Dorsal fin I, VIII, or IX, 11-12; Anal fin 11; Caudal fin 15; Pectoral fin 19-21; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 51-55.

Body elongate, slightly depressed. Head very large (~42% SL), very depressed, with several ridges bearing strong spines; eyes large (~18% HL) with narrow, fringed ocular papilla; mouth large with villiform teeth in bands on jaws, vomer and on palatines; preopercular spines 2-3, short, robust; gill rakers on first arch moderately long and slender. Scales small, finely ctenoid, covering body, head naked; lateral line scales slightly larger than adjacent scales on side, oblique scale rows above lateral line about equal to number of lateral-line scales; lateral-line scales 51-55. First dorsal fin spinous with short base, first spine very short, detached, following spines much longer. Second dorsal fin with moderately long base, anterior rays longest, nearly as long as longest first dorsal spines. Anal fin similar in shape, opposite and slightly longer-based than second dorsal fin. Caudal fin rounded. Pectoral fins of moderate size. Pelvic fins long, based below centre of pectoral fins.


Maximum length at least 38 cm TL, and a weight of approx. 500g.


Pale brown to purple with a number of variable dark saddles and blotches. Caudal fin with weak brown bars; first dorsal fin with a broad dark marginal band and narrow diagonal streaks.


Carnivore, feeding on fishes and crustaceans


Little known of biology.


May be taken in trawls or caught on hook and line.



Thysanophrys is from the Greek thysanos, meaning “tassell”, and ophrys, meaning “eye brow” in reference to the papilla on the upper part of the eye.

Species Citation

Platycephalus cirronasus Richardson, 1848, Zool. Voy. Erebus & Terror: 114. Type locality: Botany Bay, New South Wales, Australia.


CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research

Tasselsnout Flathead, Thysanophrys cirronasa (Richardson 1848)


Gomon, M.F., Glover, J.C.M. & Kuiter, R.H. 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide, 992 pp.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Platycephalidae. In: Gomon, M.F., D.J. Bray & R.H. Kuiter. Fishes of Australia’s Southern Coast. Reed New Holland, Chatswood, Australia.

Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. 2006. Fishes. In: P.L. Beesley & A. Wells (eds.) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. Parts 1-3. Australian Biological Resources Study and CSIRO Publishing, 2248 pp.

Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. 180 p.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. In, Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. (eds), Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay, Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum – Nature 54(3): 299-353.

Imamura, H. 1996. Phylogeny of the family Platycephalidae and related taxa (Pisces: Scorpaeniformes). Species Diversity 1(2): 123-233.

Imamura, H., H. Ida & J.T. Moyer. 1995. Redescription of a flathead, Thysanophrys otaitensis (Scorpaeniformes: Platycephalidae). Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 42 (3/4): 277-283.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. 437 p.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland Press, Frenchs Forest, Australia. 434 p.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37296045

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:1-35 m

Habitat:Rocky reefs

Max Size:38 cm TL; 0.5 kg


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