Scalloped Ribbonfish, Zu cristatus (Bonelli 1820)

Other Names: Scalloped Ribbon Fish

A juvenile Scalloped Ribbonfish, Zu cristatus, washed ashore on Miami Beach, southern Queensland, September 2018. Source: yakkagc / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Adults have a ribbon-like body, with a reddish dorsal fin, and a black tail. Small juveniles are silvery with large dark blotches, a scalloped ventral body margin, and bulb-like appendages on the long red dorsal and pelvic fins. Adult Scalloped Ribbonfish swim vertically in the water column with their head facing upwards.
Video of a juvenile Scalloped Ribbonfish in the Azores

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Zu cristatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 06 Jun 2023,

Scalloped Ribbonfish, Zu cristatus (Bonelli 1820)

More Info


Off the Northwest Shelf, Western Australia, and off Cape Melville, Queensland, to off the Cascade Plateau, southeast of Hobart, Tasmania; also in the Lord Howe Island region in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the species is circumglobal in temperate waters. Juveniles are epipelagic, while adults occur in deeper waters.


Although of no commercial importance, Scalloped Ribbonfish are occassionally taken as bycatch in longline fisheries.

Species Citation

Trachypterus cristatus Bonelli 1820, Mém. l'Acad. Sci., Turin 24: 487. Type locality: Gulf of Spezia, Mediterranean Sea.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Australian Faunal Directory

Scalloped Ribbonfish, Zu cristatus (Bonelli 1820)


Arnold, R. 2015. Zu cristatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T190346A21911500. Downloaded on 12 January 2017.

Bianco, P.G., Zupo, V. & Ketmaier, V. 2006. Occurrence of the scalloped ribbonfish Zu cristatus (Lampiridiformes) in coastal waters of the central Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy. Journal of Fish Biology 68: 150-155.

Bonelli, F.A. 1820. Description d'une nouvelle espèce de poisson de la Méditerranée appartenant au genre Trachyptère (T. cristatus) avec des observations sur les caractères de ce même genre. Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences, Turin 24: 485-494.

Heemstra, P.C. & Kannemeyer, S.X. 1984. The families Trachipteridae and Radiicephalidae (Pisces, Lampriformes) and a new species of Zu from South Africa. Annals of the South African Museum 94(2): 13-39 figs 1-11 

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

Martin, J.M. & Hilton, E.A. 2021. A taxonomic review of the family Trachipteridae (Acanthomorpha: Lampridiformes), with an emphasis on taxa distributed in the western Pacific Ocean. Zootaxa 5039(3): 301–351

Olney, J.E. 1999. Families Veliferidae, Lamprididae, Stylephoridae, Lophotidae, Radiicephalidae, Trachipteridae, Regalecidae. pp. 1966-1975 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. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Olney, J.E. & Naplin, A. 1980. Eggs of the scalloped ribbonfish, Zu cristatus (Pisces: Trachipteridae) in the Western North Atlantic. Copeia 1(165): 166.

Scott, E.O.G. 1983. Observations on some Tasmanian fishes. Part 29. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 117: 167-202 figs 1-6 pls 1-3

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37271003

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:90-1500 m

Habitat:Epipelagic, mesopelagic

Max Size:120 cm SL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map