Tonga Escolar, Tongaichthys robustus Nakamura & Fujii 1983


The Tonga Escolar is named after the location where this species was first discovered. Only a single specimen has been collected in Australian waters.

Cite this page as:
Schultz, S., Tongaichthys robustus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jul 2020,

Tonga Escolar, Tongaichthys robustus Nakamura & Fujii 1983

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or mesobenthopelagic at about 300 m


Distribution uncertain due to low numbers of records, but known from south-west Pacific. Single specimen recorded from Australian waters, off Flinders Reef (QLD). Meso- or mesobenthopelagic at a depth of around 300 m.


D XVI-XVII, 0, 0, 14-17; A I, 14-16; P I, 16-18, V I, 5. Second dorsal and anal fins followed by five or six finlets.

Body semifusiform and slightly compressed. Body depth 4.2-4.5 times into standard length. Head length 3.2 times into standard length. Lower jaw protrudes, both jaws without dermal processes. One or two (rarely three) pairs of fang-like teeth in upper jaw. No fang-like teeth in lower jaw. Palatine and vomerine teeth present. Lateral line single running from its origin above the gill cover to the caudal fin origin in gentle undulations. Scales on cheek enlarged, elongated and overlapping.


To at least 30 cm.


Dark brown dorsally, paler below. Dorsal portion of head, upper margin of lower jaw, inner base of pectoral fins and anterior margin of second dorsal fin darker.






Of no particular interest to fisheries.




Tongaichthys is from Latin meaning "Tongan fish" in reference to the type locality,  and robustus meaning robust or strong, a reference to the stout body shape of this species.

Species Citation

Tongaichthys robustus Nakamura & Fujii 1983, Publ. Seto Mar. Biol. Lab. 27(4/6): 174, figs. 2-12, Tonga Ridge, southern Pacific, 22°10.8'S, 175°23.6'W, depth 312-288 meters.


Schultz, S.

Tonga Escolar, Tongaichthys robustus Nakamura & Fujii 1983


Carpenter, K.E.; Niem, V.H. (eds). FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 6. Bony fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles, sea turtles, sea snakes and marine mammals. Rome, FAO. 2001. pp. 3381-4218.

Hoese, D.F., D.J. Bray, J.R. Paxton, & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. in Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.

Nakamura, I. and N. V. Parin. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 15. Snake mackerels and cutlassfishes of the world (Families Gempylidae and Trichiuridae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the snake mackerels, snoeks, escolars, gemfishes, sackfishes, domine, oilfish,cutlassfishes, scabbardfishes, hairtails, and frostfishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopis. No. 125, Vol. 15. 1993. 136 p., 200 figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37439018

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map