Pink Handfish, Brachiopsilus dianthus Last & Gledhill 2009

Pink Handfish, Brachiopsilus dianthus - CSIRO H 4995–01, holotype, 99.5 mm SL. Source: Karen Gowlett-Holmes. License: All rights reserved

A very rare handfish with a mottled pinkish-red body with darker reddish fins. The species is only known from waters of the southern Tasmania.
Video of a Pink Handfish in the Tasman Fracture Marine Park off south-western Tasmania, depth 120 m.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Brachiopsilus dianthus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 Feb 2024,

Pink Handfish, Brachiopsilus dianthus Last & Gledhill 2009

More Info


Southern Tasmania: the Tasman Peninsula, the mouth of the Huon River, off Dennes Point in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, and in the Tasman Fracture Marine Park.
Inhabits inshore soft bottom areas probably near or on hard substrates (rocky/rubble), sheltering amongst dense macroinvertebrate cover. 


Anal fin 9-10; Pectoral fin 9-11.
Esca of medium size, 29–38% of illicium length; illicium smooth, thin, not exceedingly fleshy, length 15–16% SL, 3–3.5 times in head length, 2.0–2.3 times in length of second dorsal-fin spine; with illicium adpressed, apex of esca situated above posterior half of eye; esca much wider than illicial stem, covered with dense, short, filaments; head slightly compressed; moderate-sized eye (horizontal diameter 6–7% SL); mouth narrow; lips fleshy with irregular folds; body and fins entirely naked in adults (except for scales associated with pores of the acoustico-lateralis system); 5 sensory pores above eye; long first dorsal-fin base (length 26–30% SL); second dorsal-fin rays 17–18, fin base 73–76% SL; length of second dorsal-fin spine 1.3–1.5 times length of longest ray of second dorsal fin; length of anal-fin base 38–39% SL; caudal peduncle very short (length 1–2% SL); caudal fin of medium size, its length much longer than fin rays of pectoral fin, length 3.2–4.0 times caudal peduncle depth.


Little is known of the biology of this species. Handfishes lack a pelagic larval stage, and thus, dispersal of young is very limited. Females lay small clusters of large eggs attached to the substrate by filaments and provide some level of parental care until the eggs hatch.


Historically, the species was taken as bycatch in the scallop fishery.


Brachiopsilus is from the Latin brachium meaning 'arm', and psilos meaning 'bare' or 'smooth', in reference to the smooth body and arm-like pectoral fins. The specific name is from the Latin dianthus (= carnation, pink), in reference to the pink colour of this species.

Species Citation

Brachiopsilus dianthus Last & Gledhill 2009, Zootaxa 2252: 21, figs. 2, 3, 6, 11. Type locality: Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania, 38 m. [43°13'S, 147°57'E].


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Pink Handfish, Brachiopsilus dianthus Last & Gledhill 2009


Edgar, G., Last, P.R. & Stuart-Smith, R. 2020. Brachiopsilus dianthus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T123376622A123424329. Accessed on 04 April 2022.

Last, P.R. & Gledhill, D.C. 2009. A revision of the Australian handfishes (Lophiiformes: Brachionichthyidae), with descriptions of three new genera and nine new species. Zootaxa 2252: 1-77.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37209009

Conservation:IUCN Endangered

Depth:15-120 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:13.6 cm TL


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