Common name: Diceratiid Anglerfishes, Double anglerfishes, Double Anglers, Double-spine Seadevils


A small family of rare deep midwater anglerfishes (Suborder Ceratioidei) characterised by having two bioluminescent dorsal spines on the head. As with all ceratioid anglerfishes, males and females are sexually dimorphic, with the smaller males free-living and not parasitic on the larger females.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Double anglerfishes, DICERATIIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Jun 2024,

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Family Taxonomy

A small family with 2 genera and 6 species; a single species is known from Australian waters.

Family Distribution

Worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans; inhabit meso- and bathypelagic waters over the continental shelf and slope.

Family Description

Body short, deep, globe-shaped; mouth large, oblique, reaching beyond eye; jaw teeth slender, recurved, depressible, illicium relatively short to more than twice body length, with conspicuous luminescent esca at tip; a second dorsal-fin spine with a light organ on head immediately behind illicium base. Body covered with minute spinules; lateral-line system visible as small, round papillae on head and body Males free-living, smaller than but not parasitic on females; eyes large, nostrils large; snout with a single pair of denticular teeth, lower jaw with two rows of denticular teeth; skin covered with spinules.

Family Size

Females to about 28 mm; male to 14 mm SL (only a single specimen known).

Family Feeding


Family Reproduction

Little is known of the reproduction of this group. Oviparous, with pelagic eggs and larvae. Larvae have a short, almost spherical body with inflated skin, a very large head,  pectoral fins not reaching beyond the dorsal- and anal-fin bases, pelvic fins absent.

Family Commercial

Of no commercial importance.

Family Remarks

All species in the family are treated in Pietsch (2009).


Dianne J. Bray


Bertelsen, E. 1951. The ceratioid fishes. Ontogeny, taxonomy, distribution and biology. Dana Rept. 39: 276 pp.

Bertelsen, E. 1983. First records of metamorphosed males of the families Diceratiidae and Centrophrynidae (Pisces, Ceratioidei). Steenstrupia. 8(16): 309-315.

Bertelsen, E. 1984. Ceratioidei: development and relationships. pp. 325-334, In: Moser, H.G., W.J. Richards, D.M. Cohen, M.P. Fahay, A.W. Kendall, Jr. & S.L. Richardson (eds). Ontogeny and Systematics of Fishes. Spec. Publ. No. 1, Amer. Soc. Ichthy. Herpet. ix + 760 pp.

Pietsch, T.W. 1999.  Diceratiidae. Diceratid anglerfishes (deepsea anglerfishes), P. 2030, In Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem. Species identification guide for fisheries purposes. The living marine resources of the western central Pacific. Batoid fishes, chimeras and bony fishes. Part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). FAO, Rome.

Pietsch, T.W. 2005. Dimorphism, parasitism, and sex revisited: modes of reproduction among deep-sea ceratioid anglerfishes (Teleostei: Lophiiformes). Ichthyol. Res. 52: 207-236.

Pietsch, T.W. 2009. Oceanic Anglerfishes: Extraordinary Diversity in the Deep Sea. University of California press, 576 pp.

Pietsch, T.W. & Kenaley, C.P. 2005. Diceratiidae. Double-spine seadevils. Version 05 November 2005 (under construction). in The Tree of Life Web Project,

Uwate, K.R. 1979. Revision of the anglerfish Diceratiidae with descriptions of two new species. Copeia 1979(1): 129-144.