Cosmopolitan Rubyfish, Plagiogeneion rubiginosum (Hutton 1875)

Other Names: Rubyfish

A Cosmopolitan Rubyfish, Plagiogeneion rubiginosum, collected during the 2003 NORFANZ Expedition that surveyed seamount chains in the Tasman Sea. Source: Robin McPhee / NORFANZ Founding Parties. License: All rights reserved

A rosy pink fish, slightly browner above, silvery below, with reddish-orange fins and black tips on the caudal fin. The Cosmopolitan Rubyfish has a strongly forked tail and a very protrusible mouth.

Differs from the Bigscale Rubyfish, Plagiogeneion macrolepis, in having smaller and more numerous scales.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Plagiogeneion rubiginosum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

Cosmopolitan Rubyfish, Plagiogeneion rubiginosum (Hutton 1875)

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Off Cape Byron, New South Wales, to West of Bunbury, Western Australia, including around Tasmania. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Indo-west Pacific from southern Africa to Australasia, usually near the edge of the continental shelf and around seamounts. Juveniles are epipelagic and move into deeper waters as they grow.


Dorsal fin XII-XIII, 10-11; Anal fin III, 10; Pectoral fin 20-21; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 67-76; Gill rakers 34-40; Vertebrae 10-11 + 13-14 = 24.
Body depth 27-34% SL.


Rosy pink, dorsal and anal fins slightly yellowish-orange, caudal-fin tips blackish.


Adults feed near the bottom on larger zooplankton.


The species is fished commercially in New Zealand, and is a component of deep-sea seamount fisheries in some areas.

Similar Species

Differs from the Bigscale Rubyfish, Plagiogeneion macrolepis, in having smaller and more numerous scales (lateral-line scales 67-74 vs. 48-51 scales in P. macrolepis).


The species is named rubiginosum (= rusty) in reference to its reddish colour.

Species Citation

Therapon rubiginosus Hutton, 1875, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 4 16(41): 314. Type locality: Coast of Otago, Bass Strait, New Zealand.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Cosmopolitan Rubyfish, Plagiogeneion rubiginosum (Hutton 1875)


Al Abdali, F.S.H., Al Buwaiqi, B., Al Kindi, A.S.M., Ambuali, A., Borsa, P., Carpenter, K.E., Govender, A. & Russell, B. 2019. Plagiogeneion rubiginosum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T123426979A123494667. Downloaded on 23 June 2020.

Clark, M. 2009. Deep-sea seamount fisheries: a review of global status and future prospects. Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research 37(3): 501-512.

Forbes, H.O. 1890. On a new genus of fishes of the family Percidae, from New Zealand. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 22(30): 273-275

Heemstra, P.C. & Randall, J.E. 1977. A revision of the Emmelichthyidae (Pisces : Perciformes). Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 28(3): 361-396 figs 1-5

Horn, P.L., Neil, H.L., Paul, L.J. & McMillan, P.J. 2012. Age verification, growth and life history of rubyfish Plagiogeneion rubiginosum. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 46(3): 353-368

Hutton, F.W. 1875. Descriptions of new species of New Zealand fish. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 4 16(41): 313-317. See ref at BHL

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.

O’Driscoll, R.L., de Joux, P., Nelson, R., Macaulay, G.J. Dunford, A.J., Marriot, P.M., Stewart, C. & Miller, B.S. 2012. Species identification in seamount fish aggregations using moored underwater video. ICES Journal of Marine Science 69(4): 648-659.

Paul, L., & Horn, P. & Francis, M. 2000. Development of an ageing methodology, and first estimates of growth parameters and natural mortality for rubyfish (Plagiogeneion rubiginosum) off the east coast of the North Island (QMA 2). New Zealand fisheries assessment report 2000/22

Paulin, C., Stewart, A., Roberts, C. & McMillan, P. 1989. New Zealand fish: a complete guide. National Museum of New Zealand Miscellaneous Series 19: 1-279.

Russell, B.C. 1996. Type specimens of New Zealand fishes described by Captain F. W. Hutton, F.R.S. (1836–1905). Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 26(2): 215-236.

Trnski, T. 2015. 182 Family Emmelichthyidae. pp. 1275-1277 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37345003

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:50-900 m


Max Size:47 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map