Japanese Pineapplefish, Monocentris japonica (Houttuyn 1782)

Other Names: Japanese Pineapple-fish, Pineconefish

A Japanese Pineapplefish, Monocentris japonica, at Numazu-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Source: Nemo's Great Uncle / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Body yellow, armoured in huge sculptured scales each outlined in black, lower jaw black with a light organ on each side of the chin near tip of jaw, and large robust dorsal and pelvic-fin spines.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Monocentris japonica in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/3730

Japanese Pineapplefish, Monocentris japonica (Houttuyn 1782)

More Info


Shark Bay, Western Australia, to Botany Bay, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-West Pacific, from the Red Sea, East and South Africa, to Indonesia, Korea, Southern Japan, Australia and New Zealand. 
Nocturnal, sheltering in caves and under ledges during the day.


Dorsal fin V-VI, 11-12; Anal fin 9-11. 
Body armoured with large thickened scales; lateral line scales present but without opening. Light organs present on each side of chin. Dorsal-fin spines large, without membrane. Pelvic-fin spine large, with locking mechanism. Anal-fin without spine. 

Similar Species

Differs from the Australian Pineapplefish, Cleidopus gloriamaris, in having the light organ positioned near the tip of the lower jaw (vs on the sides in Cleidopus), a more pointed snout and a narrow preorbital bone.


The specific name refers to the type locality: Japan.

Species Citation

Gasterosteus japonicus Houttuyn 1782, Verhandelingen uitgegeeven door de Hollandse Maatschappye der Wetenschappen te Haarlem 20(2): 329. Type locality: Nagasaki, Japan.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Japanese Pineapplefish, Monocentris japonica (Houttuyn 1782)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia.Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Bloch, M.E. & Schneider, J.G. 1801. Systema Ichthyologiae Iconibus ex Illustratum. Berlin 584 pp. 110 pls. (described as Monocentris carinata) See ref at BHL

Francis, M.P. 199. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Island, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170.

Houttuyn, M. 1782. Beschryving van eenige Japanische visschen en andere zeeschepselen. Verhandelingen uitgegeeven door de Hollandse Maatschappye der Wetenschappen te Haarlem 20(2): 311-350 

Kotlyar, A.N. 1996. Beryciform Fishes of the World Ocean. Moscow : VNIRO Publishing 368 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

Masuda, H., Amaoka, K., Araga, C., Uyeno, T. & Yoshino, T. (eds) 1984. The Fishes of the Japanese Archipelago.Tokyo : Tokai University Press Vol. 1–2 437 pp. 247 figs 370 pls. 

McKay, R.J. 1970. Additions to the fish fauna of Western Australia. 5. Western Australian Fisheries. Bulletin 9(5): 3-24 figs 1-2 

Okiyama, M., 1993. An atlas of the early stage fishes in Japan. Koeltz Scientific Books, Germany. 1154 pp.

Powell, A.W.B. 1938. A new Cleidopus and four other fishes new to New Zealand. Records of the Auckland Institute and Museum 2(3): 151-156 fig. 37 (described as Cleidopus novaezelandicus)

Roberts, C.D. 2015. Families Anoplogastridae, Diretmidae and Monocentridae. pp. 1002-1008 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152. 

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia.Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

Waite, E.R. 1899. Scientific results of the trawling expedition of H.M.C.S. Thetis off the coast of New South Wales. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 4: 1-132 figs 1-10 pls 1-31

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37259002


Depth:10-200 m

Fishing:In public aquaria

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:17 cm TL

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