Tadpole Coffinfish, Chaunacops melanostomus (Caruso 1989)

Other Names: Tadpole Coffinfish

Tadpole Coffinfish, Chaunacops melanostomus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A distinctive coffinfish with a dark greyish to black body, a long tail base (caudal peduncle) and a black lining to the mouth. The Tadpole Coffinfish occurs off Western Australia in depths of 700-1700 m. Coffinfishes use a small shaggy mop-like lure on the front of the head to attract prey. Like shallow-water anglerfishes (family Antennariidae), they usually 'walk' over the bottom on their modified pelvic and pectoral fins.

Video of a Tadpole Coffinfish filmed on Australia's North West Shelf, depth about 1417 m.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Chaunacops melanostomus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/2156

Tadpole Coffinfish, Chaunacops melanostomus (Caruso 1989)

More Info


Great Australian Bight, South Australia, and off Wedge Island to north of Eighty Mile Beach, Western Australia. Depth range in Australian waters is 700-~2240 m. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Eastern Indian Ocean.


To a maximum length of 10 cm.


Coffinfishes are ambush predators, and wave their mop-like lure to attract prey.


Almost nothing is known of the biology of this species.


Of no interest to fisheries.


Similar Species


The specific name melanostomus is from the Greek melanos (= black) and stoma (mouth), in reference to the black pigment lining the mouth that is unique to this species.

Species Citation

Bathychaunax melanostomus Caruso, 1989, Bull. Mar. Sci. 45(3): 575, figs 1A, 2. Type locality: Southeastern Indian Ocean, 16°55'S, 114°53'E, depth 1600-1700 m.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Australian Faunal Directory

Catalog of Fishes

Tadpole Coffinfish, Chaunacops melanostomus (Caruso 1989)


Caruso, J.H. 1989. A review of the Indo-Pacific members of the deep-water chaunacid anglerfish genus Bathychaunax, with the description of a new species from the eastern Indian Ocean (Pisces: Lophiiformes). Bulletin of Marine Science 45: 574-579 (as Bathychaunax coloratus) See ref online

Caruso, J.H. 1989. Systematics and distribution of Atlantic chaunacid anglerfishes (Pisces: Lophiiformes). Copeia 1989(1): 153-165 (as Bathychaunax coloratus)

Caruso, J.H. 1999. Family Chaunacidae. pp. 2020-2021 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.

Caruso, J.H., Ho, H-C. & T.W. Pietsch. 2006. Chaunacops Garman, 1899, a senior objective synonym of Bathychaunax Caruso, 1989 (Lophiiformes: Chaunacoidei: Chaunacidae). Copeia 2006(1): 120-121.

Ho, H.-C. & McGrouther, M. 2015. A new anglerfish from eastern Australia and New Caledonia (Lophiiformes: Chaunacidae: Chaunacops), with new data and submersible observation of Chaunacops melanostomusJournal of Fish Biology 86(3): 940-951. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.12607

Roa-Varón, A. & Iwamoto, T. 2019. Chaunacops melanostomus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T139922437A140322837. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-2.RLTS.T139922437A140322837.en. Downloaded on 09 December 2020.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37211005

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:700-~2240 m

Habitat:Bottom dweller

Max Size:10 cm SL

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