False Cusk, Parabrotula plagiophthalmus Zugmayer 1911

Illustration of the holotype of the False Cusk, Parabrotula plagiophthalmus. Source: Zugmayer 1911 Poissons provenant des campagnes du yacht Princesse-Alice (1901-1910). Résultats des campagnes scientifiques accomplies sur son yacht par Albert 1er Monaco. Fasc. 35: 129, Pl. 6 (fig. 5) . License: Copyright expired

A rare dark brown deepwater pelagic live-bearing cusk with a slender eel-like body, a pointed snout, a large gill opening and thin, loose skin.
Until the molecular study of Campbell et al. (2017) the genus Parabrotula had been placed in its own family, the Parabrotulidae.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Parabrotula plagiophthalmus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Aug 2020,

False Cusk, Parabrotula plagiophthalmus Zugmayer 1911

More Info


Off Wollongong, New South Wales, to south of Point Hicks, Victoria. Elsewhere the species is circumglobal in tropical and temperate waters. Depth range in Australia 900-1000 m.


Dorsal fin 37-41; Anal fin 34-38. 
Body long, naked, compressed; snout pointed; gill opening large; skin loose, thin but not gelatinous.


All species in the famly Bythitidae are viviparous (live bearers).


The specific name plagiophthalmus is from the Greek plagios (= oblique) and ophthalmos (= eye).

Species Citation

Parabrotula plagiophthalmus Zugmayer 1911, Bull. l'Inst. Océanogr. Monaco 193: 10. Type locality: (Station 2870), north-east of Azores, 0-1500m [43°04´N, 19°42´W].


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

False Cusk, Parabrotula plagiophthalmus Zugmayer 1911


Anderson, M.E. 1986. Family 95: Parabrotulidae. 343 in Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P. (eds) Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 pls.

Campbell, M.A., Nielsen, J.G., Sado, T., Shinzato, C., Kanda, M., Satoh, T.P. & Miya, M. 2017. Evolutionary affinities of the unfathomable Parabrotulidae: molecular data indicate placement of Parabrotula within the family Bythitidae, Ophidiiformes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 109: 337-342http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2017.02.004

Carpenter, K.E., Smith-Vaniz, W.F., de Bruyne, G. & de Morais, L. 2015. Parabrotula plagiophthalma. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T60482248A60800129. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T60482248A60800129.en. Downloaded on 27 August 2019.

Hoese, D.F. 2006. Parabrotulidae. 577 in Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3 2178 pp.

Kimura, S., Kohno, Y., Tsukamoto, Y. & Okiyama, M. 1990. Record of the parabrotulid fish Parabrotula plagiophthalma from Japan. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 37(3): 318-320 https://doi.org/10.11369/jji1950.37.318, open access

Nielsen, J.G., Badcock, J. & Merrett, N.R. 1990. New data elucidating the taxonomy and ecology of the Parabrotulidae (Pisces: Zoarcoidei). Journal of Fish Biology 37: 437-448 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.1990.tb05874.x

Nielsen, J.G. 1986. Parabrotulidae. In: P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen & E. Tortonese (eds), Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, pp. 1151-1152. UNESCO, Paris.

Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds) 1986. Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 pls.

Zugmayer, E. 1911. Diagnoses des poissons nouveaux provenant des campagnes du yacht Princesse Alice (1901 à 1910). Bulletin de l'Institut Océanographique Monaco 193: 1-14.

Zugmayer, E. 1911. Poissons provenant des campagnes du yacht Princesse-Alice (1901–1910). Résultats des Campagnes Scientifiques accomplies par le Prince Albert I, Monaco 35: 1–174.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37228044

Biology:Live bearer

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-3000 m

Habitat:Pelagic deepwater

Max Size:6 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map