Common name: Dwarf Dory, Scaly Dories, Tinselfishes


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Tinselfishes, GRAMMICOLEPIDIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Mar 2024,

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Family Taxonomy

The Grammicolepididae currently comprise three species in three genera; all are known from Australia. Grande et al. (2018) did not, however, recover Macrurocyttus within a clade containing Grammicolepis and Xenolepidichthys.

Family Distribution

Species live near the bottom on the continental slope in the tropical and temperate regions of the Atlantic, Indian and Western-central Pacific Oceans.

Family Description

Species of Grammicolepis and Xenolepidichthys are silvery, deep-bodied compressed fishes with unique, vertically elongate scales and a small, almost vertical mouth; maximum size is 33 cm.

Macrurocyttus has extremely large eyes and one large serrated spine in the pelvic fins, no scales, and maximum length is about 10 cm.

Family Size

Adults grammicolepidids range in size from 10 to 33 cm.

Family Colour

Grammicolepis and Xenolepidichthys are very silvery fishes, whereas the much smaller Macrurocyttus is dark brown to black in coloration.

Family Reproduction

Very little is known of the biology of grammicolepid fishes. The sexes are separate and fertilisation is external; eggs and larvae are pelagic.

Family Commercial

Of no interest to fisheries, although some species are taken in commercial trawls.

Family Remarks

Heemstra (1999) treated some species and diagnosed the Grammicolepididae and Macrurocyttidae as separate families. Tyler et al. (2003) included Macrurocyttus with the grammicolepidids.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Grande, T.C, Borden, W.C., Wilson, M.V.H. & Scarpitta, L. 2018. Phylogenetic relationships among fishes in the Order Zeiformes based on molecular and morphological data. Copeia 106(1):20-48. 2018

Heemstra, P.C. 1999. Families Parazenidae, Macrocyttidae, Zeidae, Grammicolepididae, Caproidae. pp. 2257–2261 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. 4 pp. 2069–2790

Tyler, J.C., O’Toole, B. & Winterbottom, R.W. (2003). Phylogeny of the genera and families of zeiform fishes, with comments on their relationships with tetraodontiforms and caproids. Smithson. Contrib. Zool. 618: 1–110.