Bighead Whiptail, Coryphaenoides rudis Günther 1878

Other Names: Bighead Grenadier, Rudis Rattail

Bighead Whiptail, Coryphaenoides rudis. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

One of the largest known grenadiers with a brown or greyish-brown body and somewhat darker fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J., Coryphaenoides rudis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Mar 2024,

Bighead Whiptail, Coryphaenoides rudis Günther 1878

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Off Newcastle, New South Wales, to off Lakes Entrance, Victoria, and west-north-west of Cape Cuvier to off North West Cape, Western Australia. Although relatively rare, the species is widely distributed in the Indo-west-central Pacfic and subtropical and tropical Atlantic. The Bighead Whiptail is bathypelagic on the outer slope in depths of 1000-2400 m.


1D II, 9-11, A , C - P i16-i21, V8-11 (usually 9-10), GR-I (total, outer/inner series) 3-4/9-10, GR-II 7-10/9-10, BR 6, PC 12-16.
Head broad, width about two-thirds its length, ridges lacking large, stout, modified scales; orbit small; snout short, blunt, low, completely scaled, tipped with inconspicuous tubercular scales, nasal fossa naked, also a small naked area near snout tip; mouth large, slightly subterminal, upper jaw reaching below posterior margin of orbit; upper jaw teeth in moderately broad band, outer series enlarged, lower jaw teeth in 1-3 irregular rows; chin barbel slender, outer gill slit greatly restricted; spinous second ray of first dorsal fin serrated along leading edge, pelvic fin bases anterior to first dorsal and pectoral fin bases; body scales small, relatively adherent, densely covered with small, short conical spinules in subparalel rows; lateral line descending in broad curve behind head. anus immediately before anal fin origin, light organ absent.


One of the largest macrourid species reaching more than 1.2 m total length (TL).


Overall brown or greyish brown; fins somewhat darker.


Larger fish known to feed on cephalopods.


Juveniles differ from adults in having a more protruding snout and a larger orbit.


Species Citation

Coryphaenoides rudis Günther 1878, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (5)2(2): 24. Type locality: Pacific, north of Kermadec Island, Challenger station 171, 28°33'0"S, 177°50'0"E, depth 600 fathoms (1097 m).


Bray, D.J.

Bighead Whiptail, Coryphaenoides rudis Günther 1878


Iwamoto, T. & Williams, A. (1999). Grenadiers (Pisces, Gadiformes) from the continental slope of western and northwestern Australia. Proc. Calif: Acad. Sci. 51(3): 105-243 figs 1-58

Iwamoto, T. & Graham, K.J. (2001). Grenadiers (Families Bathygadidae and Macrouridae,  Gadiformes, Pisces) of New South Wales, Australia. Proc. Calif: Acad. Sci. 52(21): 407-509 figs 1-1 14

Nakayama, N. & Endo, H. 2016. A new species of the grenadier genus Coryphaenoides (Actinopterygii: Gadiformes: Macrouridae) from Japan and a range extension of Coryphaenoides rudis Günther 1878 in the northwestern Pacific. Ichthyological Research: 1-12, Online early DOI 10.1007/s10228-016-0524-9

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37232019

Biology:No light organ

Depth:1000-2400 m


Max Size:120 cm TL

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