Naked-belly Coffinfish, Chaunax nudiventer Ho & Shao 2010

Other Names: Nakedbelly Coffinfish, Naked-belly Frogmouth, Pink Frogmouth

Lateral view of a Naked-belly Coffinfish, Chaunax nudiventer, from the Lord Howe Rise, May 2003. Source: NORFANZ Founding Parties. License: All rights reserved

A relatively slender bright red coffinfish with many large darker irregular spots on the dorsal surface, a mostly naked area on abdomen, slender simple spines covering the body, and numerous broad flaps on sides of body. The illicial trough is oval, and the esca is small with a central tongue bearing many cirri on the anterior surface.
Ho (2015) describes what is thought to be a Naked-belly Coffinfish filmed resting on a rock and sand bottom on the Kermadec Ridge. When the ROV approached, rather than flee, the coffinfish raised itself up on its pelvic fins and inflated its loose skin, greatly enlarging its body.  

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Chaunax nudiventer in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Jun 2024,

Naked-belly Coffinfish, Chaunax nudiventer Ho & Shao 2010

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Known in Australian waters from off Maria Island, Tasmania, and on the Lord Howe Rise in depths of 463-587 m. Elsewhere the species occurs off New Caledonia, New Zealand and Fiji. Inhabits seamounts, ridges, and continental and insular slopes, in depths of 282-1089 m.


Dorsal fin  III + 10-11; Anal fin 6; Pectoral fin 13–14; Caudal fin 8; Gill rakers (2nd arch) 11–12; Vertebrae (incl hypural plate) 19; Lateral line neuromasts mainly 41–43 in lateral line proper, 4 in the upper peropercular series, and 16–17 in the pectoral series. 

Body relatively slender; head globular, skull slightly elevated posteriorly; trunk cylindrical, slightly compressed, tapering posteriorly; venter relatively flattened; skin loose and flaccid; interorbital space broad; eyes directed dorsolaterally, covered by a dermal membrane broadly connected to adjoining skin, forming a clear “window”; illicial trough oval shaped, located at anterior portion of interorbital space, about equal to eye diameter; two pairs of nostrils anterior to eyes; mouth relatively wide, terminal, its opening nearly vertical; lower jaw slightly protruding beyond upper jaw; maxilla tapering above, broad below; symphyseal spine on lower jaw; teeth small, villiform, slightly curved on both jaws; teeth present on vomer, palatines and fifth ceratobranchial; oral cavity large; gill filaments present on first, second and third gill arches.

Illicium before eye; esca with a “medial tongue” bearing numerous cirri on anterior surface; second dorsal-fin spine small, located at base of illicium and embedded under skin; third dorsal-fin spine located at midpoint between mouth and origin of second dorsal fin, embedded under skin; origin of second about opposite that of anus; first ray of second dorsal fin very short, sometimes covered by skin; posterior rays either simple or bifurcated; anal fin origin below fifth dorsal-fin ray, fin rays covered by thick skin, when depressed not reaching caudal fin base; caudal fin truncate or slightly rounded posteriorly, outermost two rays unbranched, remainder branched.

Dermal spines needle-like, slightly recurved distally and relatively dense in arrangement, covering entire body surface except for ventral surface, eye window, pectoral and pelvic fins, interradial membranes of dorsal and caudal fins, illicial trough, and gill openings. Ventral surface with a large naked area. Small flap-like appendages along chin and lateral body associated with lateral line; both jaws densely covered by short cirri.


Dorsal surface uniformly bright red with numerous large deep-red spots varying in shape and size, from about half of to equal to eye diameter. Preserved specimens creamy white with large grey spots on dorsal surface, spots may fade with time; oral cavity pale, peritoneum black; appendages associated with lateral line bright white in some preserved specimens.


The specific name nudiventer is from the Latin nudus (= naked) and venter (= abdomen), in reference to the naked area on the abdomen.

Species Citation

Chaunax nudiventer Ho & Shao, 2010, Zootaxa 2445: 54, figs 1-5. Type locality: South Fiji Ridge, 538–620 m [26°01.7’S, 179°02.3’W].


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Catalog of Fishes

Naked-belly Coffinfish, Chaunax nudiventer Ho & Shao 2010


Duffy, C.A. & Ahyong, S.T. 2015. Annotated checklist of the marine flora and fauna of the Kermadec Islands Marine Reserve and northern Kermadec Ridge, New Zealand. Bulletin of the Auckland Museum 60: 19-124.

Fricke, R., Kulbicki, M. & Wantiez, L. 2011. Checklist of the fishes of New Caledonia, and their distribution in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (Pisces). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie) Neue Serie 4: 341-463.

Ho, H.-C. 2015. 114 Family Chaunacidae (pp. 888-895). In: Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. 2015. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152.

Ho, H. 2020. Chaunax nudiventer. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T139928929A140322591. Downloaded on 09 December 2020.

Ho, H-C., Roberts, C.D. & Stewart, A.L. 2013. A review of the anglerfish genus Chaunax (Lophiiformes: Chaunacidae) from New Zealand and adjacent waters, with descriptions of four new species. Zootaxa 3620(1): 89–111.

Ho, H.-C. & Shao, K.-T. 2010. A new species of Chaunax (Lophiiformes: Chaunacidae) from the western South Pacific, with comment on C. latipunctatus. Zootaxa 2445: 53-61

Williams, A., Gowlett-Holmes, K. & Althaus, F. 2006. Biodiversity survey of seamounts & slopes of the Norfolk Ridge and Lord Howe Rise : final report to the Department of the Environment and Heritage (National Oceans Office). pp. 203 + Appendices. (Appendix 10, p 34, as Chaunax sp B white pect filaments)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37211011

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:282-1089 m

Habitat:Bottom dweller

Max Size:27 cm SL

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