Coelorinchus australis (Richardson 1839)

Other Names: Javelin, Rugose Whiptail, Southern Whiptail, Southern Whip-tail

A Southern Whiptail, Coelorinchus australis, collected SE of Gabo Island, Victoria in 159-310 metres. Source: Ken Graham / NSW Fisheries. License: All rights reserved


The Southern Whiptail, one of the shallowest-dwelling grenadiers, lives only in Australian waters.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J., Coelorinchus australis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Jul 2024,

Coelorinchus australis (Richardson 1839)

More Info


The Southern Whiptail is endemic to temperate Australian waters. The species is benthopelagic on the continental shelf and upper slope at depths between 80-900 metres, usually between 80-300 metres


D II, 9-11; P 14-19; V 7; GR 7-9; PC 31-34.
Snout short, bluntly pointed, tipped with small blunt tubercle, fully scaled behind leading edge, antero-lateral margin incompletely supported by bone; eye large, longer that snout and postorbital length; mouth inferior, cleft extending to about midorbit, underside of head scaled, jaw teeth small, in bands; chin barbel short, thick, well developed; gill rakers on first arch tubercular, absent from outer face. Second spine of first dorsal fin smooth, pectoral fin base below first dorsal fin, pelvic fins inserted behind first dorsal and pectoral fins. Body scales with up to 20 parallel rows of small spinules. Naked fossa of light organ large, just before anus, elongate to ovoid, extending forward from anus midway to pelvic-fin bases.


Reaches a total length of 55 cm.


Body greenish grey dorsally and creamy white ventrally, with 8-10 narrow dark longitudinal stripes dorsolaterally and scattered pale spots dorsally on the head. The distal half of the first dorsal fin is black, and the anal fin is blackish posteriorly with a dusky to blackish distal margin; mouth and gill cavity black, lips and barbel pale.


Southern Whiptails feed on octopus, fishes and decapod crustaceans.


Although this species is commonly trawled as bycatch off NSW and Tasmania to depths of 300 metres, it is of no commercial importance despite its large size.


Not evaluated.


The specific name australis is from the Greek meaning southern.

Species Citation

Lepidoleprus australis Richardson, 1839, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 7: 100, Port Arthur, Tasmania (as Van Diemen's Land).


Bray, D.J.

Coelorinchus australis (Richardson 1839)


May, J.L. & J.G.H. Maxwell. 1986. Trawl fish from temperate waters of Australia. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, Tasmania. 492 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37232001


Depth:80-900 m



Max Size:550


Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map