Brilliant Lightfish, Polymetme illustris McCulloch 1926

Illustration of a Brilliant Lightfish, Polymetme illustris. Source: McCulloch 1926 Report on some fishes obtained by the F. I. S. "Endeavour". License: Public Domain

A lightfish with a dark brown back distinctly separated from the silvery sides, and a blackish gill cover.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Polymetme illustris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Apr 2024,

Brilliant Lightfish, Polymetme illustris McCulloch 1926

More Info


Coral Sea, east of Cape Tribulation, Queesland, to off Gabo Island, Victoria, and west to Great Australian Bight, Western Australia.
The species is benthopelagic at depths to more than 800 m.


Dorsal fin 10–12; adipose; Anal fin 27–31; Pectoral fin 9–11; Pelvic fin 7; Gill rakers 18; Branchiostegal rays 12–14.Photophores: ORB 1, OP 3, SO 1, BR 9–10, IV 21, VAV 7–8, AC 18, IC 50–52, OA 9–10.  
Body depth 15–18% SL; head length 21–26% SL; eye diameter 4–6% SL.  Length: to 26 cm.  


Feeds mainly on zooplankton, especially crustaceans.


The specific name is from the Latin illustris (= bright, brilliant, lighted or lustrous), possibly in reference to the silvery sides ("Brown above, silvery on the sides; the  junction of the two colours sharply defined."), or the serial photophores along the lower side.

Species Citation

Polymetme illustris McCulloch 1926, Biol. Results ‘Endeavour’ 5(4): 167, Pl. 45 (fig. 1). Type locality: Great Australian Bight southwest of Eucla, Western Australia, 350–450 fms.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Brilliant Lightfish, Polymetme illustris McCulloch 1926


Harold, A. 2020. Polymetme illustris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T141366179A141564371. Downloaded on 12 April 2021.

Harold, A.S. & Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Phosichthyidae Lightfishes, pp. 235-239 in  in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Last, P.R., Pogonoski, J.J., Gledhill, D.C. White, W.T. & Walker, C.J. 2014. The deepwater demersal ichthyofauna of the western Coral Sea. Zootaxa 3887(2): 191–224

McCulloch, A.R. 1926. Report on some fishes obtained by the F.I.S. Endeavour on the coasts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South and South-Western Australia. Part 5. Biological Results of the Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavour 1909-1914 5(4): 157-216 figs 1-5 pls 43-56 See ref at BHL

Munro, I.S.R. 1961. Handbook of Australian fishes. Nos 1–42. Australian Fisheries Newsletter 15–17, 19, 20: 1-172 (misidentified as Yarrella corythaeola)

Norman, J.R. 1930. Oceanic fishes and flatfishes collected in 1925–1927. Discovery Reports 2: 261-370 figs 1-47 pls 1-2 (misidentified as Polymetme corythaeola, considered a senior synonym of P. illustris) See ref at BHL

Parin, N.V. & Borodulina, O.D. 1990. Review of the genus Polymetme (Photichthyidae) with the description of two new species. Voprosy Ikhtiologii 30(5): 733-743

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37106027


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:230-822 m


Max Size:15 cm SL


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