Smooth-head Blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus (McCulloch 1926)

Other Names: Australian Sculpin, Blobfish, Toadfish

A Smooth-head Blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus, from off northern New South Wales, June 2017, depth 1000 m. Source: Rob Zugaro / Museums Victoria. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A uniformly pale brown to grey blobfish with loose, thin skin, some minute cirri on part of the head (absent from the top of the head), the anus about midway between the anal and pelvic fin bases, and neither jaw in advance of other.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Psychrolutes marcidus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024,

Smooth-head Blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus (McCulloch 1926)

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Endemic to Australian waters, from east of Woolgoolga, New South Wales, to off Beachport, South Australia, including off Tasmania.


Dorsal fin VII, 18; Anal fin 12-13; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 24-25; Pelvic fin V I, 3.

Body very broad, depressed anteriorly (approx. 32% SL), tapering and compressed towards caudal peduncle.  Head globose, large (approx. 40% SL); dorsal profile very convex, from blunt snout to back head; eyes moderately large; interorbital distance more than twice diameter of exposed eye; mouth large extending to below hind margin of eyes or just beyond; broad band of villiform teeth in both jaws; no vomerine teeth. Skin smooth, scaleless, loose and flabby; lateral line obvious only on head. 

Two dorsal fins comprising short based, rounded first dorsal and long based, rounded second enclosed in thick fleshy skin and appearing as one, separation of fins distinguished only by shallow notch in outer margin, originating over posterior section of opercles, extending back to and connecting with caudal peduncle by membrane; anal fin similar and opposite second dorsal but with slightly shorter base; caudal fin moderately large, rounded. Pectoral fins large, broadly angular. Pelvic fins smal], thoracic, originating below origin of pectoral fins.


Uniformly pale brown to grey.


Occasionally taken as bycatch in commercial trawls.


The specific name is from the Latin marcidus (= withered, wasted or weak). possibly in reference to the fact that the head, body and fins is “entirely covered in loose, flabby skin, which almost entirely conceals the characters beneath it”.

Species Citation

Neophrynichthys marcidus McCulloch, 1926, Biol. Res. Endeavour 4: 215‑216, pl. lv., fig. 2. type locality: southern Australian or Tasmanian coast.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Smooth-head Blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus (McCulloch 1926)


Fricke, R. 1990. A new species of psychrolutid fish from Western Australia. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 36(4): 404-409.

Glover, C.J.M. 1994. Family Psychrolutidae. pp. 523-524 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Psychrolutidae. pp. 515-521 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp.

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

Nelson, J.S. 1977. Fishes of the Southern Hemisphere genus Neophrynichthys (Scorpaeniformes: Cottoidei), with descriptions of two new species from New Zealand and Macquarie Island. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 7(4): 485-511

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37305001

Depth:600-1200 m

Habitat:Demersal, continental slope

Max Size:38 cm


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