Pacific Spookfish, Rhinochimaera pacifica (Mitsukuri 1895)

Other Names: Knifenose Chimaera, Narrownose Chimaera, Pacific Long-nosed Chimaera, Pinocchiofish, Ratfish

Pacific Spookfish, Rhinochimaera pacifica. Source: Robin McPhee & Mark McGrouther / NORFANZ Founding Parties. License: All rights reserved

A brownish spookfish with dark fins, a long broad snout, head profile straight, and a series of denticles or fleshy tubercles on the upper margin of the caudal fin in males. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Reardon, M.B., Rhinochimaera pacifica in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Apr 2024,

Pacific Spookfish, Rhinochimaera pacifica (Mitsukuri 1895)

More Info


Off central New South Wales, around the south of Australia to off North West Cape, Western Australia, including Tasmania, the South Tasman Rise, the Lord Howe Rise and the Norfolk Ridge. Elsewhere, the species occurs off New Zealand, Japan and Peru. May mostly inhabit deepwater troughs and plateaus at depths of 191 to 1,290 m, usually below 700 m.


Eyes small; mouth anterior to eye, surfaces of tooth plates smooth or nearly so, without ridges or knobs; first dorsal fin with a strong spine, much taller than second dorsal fin; upper caudal-fin origin behind origin of lower caudal fin, much less deep and shorter than lower; upper caudal fin with a marginal row of fleshy tubercles.  


A poorly known and rarely seen species. Oviparous - nothing known of reproductive biology.


Taken as bycatch in commercial deepwater trawl fisheries in Australia and New Zealand, with some fish retained in southern Australia. 


IUCN Red List: Least Concern
Although taken occasionally in deepwater trawl fisheries, this species lives mostly beyond commercial fishing depths.


Species Citation

Harriotta pacifica Mitsukuri, 1895, Zool. Mag. Tokyo 7: 97, pl. 16. Type locality: Japan.


Bray, D.J. & Reardon, M.B.


Australian Faunal Directory

Pacific Spookfish, Rhinochimaera pacifica (Mitsukuri 1895)


Compagno, L.J.V., Stehmann, M. and Ebert, D.A. 1990. Rhinochimaera africana, a new longnose chimaera from southern Africa, with comments on the systematics and distribution of the genus Rhinochimaera Garman, 1901 (Chondrichthyes, Chimaeriformes, Rhinochimaeridae). South African Journal of Marine Science 9: 201–222.

Dagit, D.D. & Kyne, P.M. 2015. Rhinochimaera pacifica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T60146A68642001. Downloaded on 21 October 2016.  

Daley, R.K., Stevens, J.D., Last, P.R. & Yearsley, G.K. 2002. Field Guide to Australian Sharks & Rays. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 84 pp.  

Didier, D.A. & Nakaya, K. 1999. Redescription of Rhinochimaera pacifica (Mitsukuri) and first record of R. africana Compagno, Stehmann & Ebert from Japan (Chimaeriformes: Rhinochimaeridae). Ichthyological Research 46(2): 139-152.

Glover, C.J.M. 1994. Families Chimaeridae, Callorhynchidae, Rhinochimaeridae. pp. 185-193 figs 164-192 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. Families Dasyatidae, Myliobatidae, Chimaeridae, Callorhinchidae, Rhinochimaeridae. 138-149 pp. in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.  

Inada, T. & Garrick, J.A.F. 1979. Rhinochimaera pacifica, a long-snouted chimaera (Rhinochimaeridae), in New Zealand waters. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 25(4): 235-243 figs 1-2

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls.  

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

Mitsukuri, K. 1895. On a new genus of the chimaeroid group Harriotta. Zoological Magazine, Tokyo 7(80): 97-98 fig. 16

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37044002

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:191-1290m (mostly below 700m)


Max Size:130 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map