Australian Pineapplefish, Cleidopus gloriamaris De Vis 1882

Other Names: Australian Pine Cone Fish, Coat-of-mail Fish, Knight Fish, Knightfish, Knight-fish, Mailfish, Pineapple Fish, Pineapplefish, Pineapple-fish, Pineconefish, Port and Starboard Light Fish, Port and Starboard Lightfish, Port-and-starboard Lightfish, West Australian Knight Fish

Australian Pineapplefish, Cleidopus gloriamaris, showing the orange light organ on the lower lip - in Port Hacking, New South Wales. Source: Klaus Stiefel / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A heavily armoured yellow fish with a bony scutes outlined in black forming a mesh-like pattern on the sides. The Australian Pineapplefish has a light organ on either side of the lower jaw that houses symbiotic colonies of the luminescent bacteria, Vibrio fischeri. These bacteria produce a constant light, which is hidden from view when the fish closes its mouth.

A group of Pineapple Fish under a ledge, Sydney, April 2015.

An Australian Pineapplefish under the Town Wharf at Narooma, New South Wales.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Cleidopus gloriamaris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Apr 2024,

Australian Pineapplefish, Cleidopus gloriamaris De Vis 1882

More Info


Endemic to subtropical and temperate waters of Australia, from One Tree Island, Queensland to eastern Tasmania, and from off Eucla to Rowley Shoals, Western Australia; also at Swains Reef in the Coral Sea, and the Lord Howe Rise, south of Balls Pyramid. Found in bays, harbours and along the coast in depths of 3-150 m.

The Australian Pineapplefish is nocturnal and usually shelters in deep caves and under ledges during the day.


Dorsal fin V-VII, 12; Anal fin 11-12. Fin spines very stout; body scales modified into large bony scutes, each with a strong backwards-pointing spine.


Max length 25 cm


Pale to bright yellow with scale margins outlined in black forming pattern on the sides that resembles wire mesh.


At night, Australian Pineapplefish move out over sandy areas to fed on crustaceans and other benthic invertebrates.


Although of no interest to fisheries, the Australian Pineapplefish is often taken as bycatch in commercial trawls.

Similar Species

The Japanese Pineapplefish, Monocentrus japonicus differs in having the light organ positioned near the tip of the lower jaw, a more pointed snout and a narrow preorbital bone.


The species name gloriamaris is from the Latin gloria and maris meaning 'glory of the sea'.

Species Citation

Cleidopus gloriamaris De Vis 1882, Proc. Linn. Soc. N. S. W. 1 7(3): 368. Type locality: Brisbane River, Queensland.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Australian Pineapplefish, Cleidopus gloriamaris De Vis 1882


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Cleidopus gloriamaris at The Digital Fish Library

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

De Vis, C.W. 1882. Descriptions of some new Queensland fishes. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 7(3): 367-371.

Fitzgerald, J.M. 1977. Classification of luminous bacteria from the light organ of the Australian Pinecone fish, Cleidopus gloriamaris. Archives of Microbiology 112(2): 153–156. Abstract

Gill, A.C. 1981. Keeping pineapple fishes (Cleidopus gloriamaris). Marine Life and Aquarium News (Newsletter of Newcastle Saltwater Aquarium Hobbyists) 1981(4): 3-5.

Gomon, M.F. 1994. Families Trachichthyidae, Monocentridae. pp. 399-412 figs 358-369 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Monocentridae, in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp.

Graham, P.H., Paxton, J.R. & Cho, K.Y. 1972. Characterisation of luminescent bacteria from the light organs of the Australian Pine Cone Fish (Cleidopus gloriamaris). Arch. Mikrobiol. 81: 305- 308.

Haneda, Y. 1966. On a luminous organ of the Australian Pine Cone Fish, Cleidopus gloriamaris de Vis, pp. 547-555, in Bioluminescence in progress, (Johnson, Haneda, eds). Princeton: Princeton University Press

Hutchins, J. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762.

Konishi, Y. 1999. Developmental and comparative morphology of beryciform larvae (Teleostei: Acanthomorpha), with comments on trachichthyoid relationships. Bulletin of the Seikai National Fisheries Research Institute 77: 23-92.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp.

Nealson, K.M., Haygood, M.G., Tebo, B.M., Roman, M., Miller, E. & McCosker, J.E. 1984. Contribution by symbiotically luminous fishes to the occurrence and bioluminescence of luminous bacteria in seawater. Microbial Ecology 10(1): 69–77. Abstract

Ogilby, J.D. 1899. Contributions to Australian ichthyology. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 24(1): 154-186

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Waite, E.R. 1899. Scientific results of the trawling expedition of H.M.C.S. Thetis off the coast of New South Wales. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 4: 1-132 figs 1-10 pls 1-31

Whitley, G.P. 1931. New names for Australian fishes. Australian Zoologist 6(4): 310-334, Pls. 25-27 (described as a subspecies Cleidopus gloriamaris occidentalis)

Yoshiba, S. & Haneda, Y. 1967. Bacteriological study on the symbiotic luminous bacteria cultivated from the luminous organ of the apogonid fish, Siphamia versicolor and the Australian Pine Cone Fish Cleidopus gloriamaris. Sci. Rep. Yokosuka City Mus. 13:

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37259001


Depth:3-150 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:25 cm TL


Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map