Genus Thymichthys

Species in the genus Thymichthys are unique among handfishes in having wart-like protuberances, strongly demarcated sensory scales and dermal appendages on the skin. They also differ from other handfishes in having a combination of the following characters: a relatively deep body (33–52% SL at second dorsal-fin) and variable in shape, subtriangular to compressed slightly in cross section, elongate, length 46–56% SL; usually a very short caudal peduncle, 2–6% (rarely to 9%) SL; the illicium robust or slender (1.9–3.4 in head length), usually 2–3 (rarely to 4) times the length of the esca; the skin surface usually smooth to touch, with variably developed, embedded scales; scales usually sparse, with simple and/or bifurcate spinules and irregular bases; spinules usually short, adpressed, directed posteriorly, originating at posterior margin of scale base, their tips fully embedded or barely protruding above skin surface. The body is brightly coloured or has a strong pattern of blotches, spots and reticulations; pectoral-fin rays 7–10 (mainly 8 or 9); anal-fin rays 6–10 (rarely 6); vertebrae 20–24 (mainly 21–23).
Author: Dianne J. Bray

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Thymichthys in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Mar 2024,


Last, P.R. & Gledhill, D.C. 2009. A revision of the Australian handfishes (Lophiiformes: Brachionichthyidae), with descriptions of three new genera and nine new species. Zootaxa 2252: 1-77.