Ghost Velvetfish, Cocotropus larvatus Poss & Allen 1987

A Ghost Velvetfish, Cocotropus larvatus, at Anilao, Philippines, May 2015. Source: Scott Johnson / FishBase. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A well-camouflaged pale greyish velvetfish with brown spots scattered on the head, especially around the snout, and irregular brownish spots on the fins. The Ghost Velvetfish has a distinctly concave snout.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Cocotropus larvatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jul 2024,

Ghost Velvetfish, Cocotropus larvatus Poss & Allen 1987

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Christmas Island, eastern Indian Ocean, AUS EEZ. Elsewhere the species occurs in the East Indo-west Pacific: Christmas Island, Banda islands, Indonesia, northern Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Inhabits sandy and rubble areas on outer reef slopes in depths to 40 m.


Dorsal fin XIII, 9-10; Anal fin II, 8-9; Pectoral fin 13-14; Gill rakers 3 + 6–9 = 9–12. 
Body very compressed, depth 2.8-3.2 in SL; snout and interorbital distinctly concave; lacrimal bone with two small spines; preopercular margin with 5 blunt spines; papillae present on outer edge of lower jaw; anterior tip of isthmus reaching to level of 5th sensory pore on lower jaw.
Dorsal-fin origin above middle of eye.


The specific name larvatus is from the Latin larva (= ghost), in reference to the small size and ghost-like appearance of this species.

Species Citation

Cocotropus larvatus Poss & Allen 1987, Mem. Mus. Vict. 48(1): 79. Type locality: outside reef off Ennubuj Islet, Kwahalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, depth 15 m. 


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Catalog of Fishes

Ghost Velvetfish, Cocotropus larvatus Poss & Allen 1987


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Johnson, J.W. 2004. Two new species and two new records of aploactinid fishes (Pisces: Scorpaeniformes) from Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 56(2): 179-188 DOI: 10.3853/j.0067-1975.56.2004.1421

Poss, S.G. 1999. Families Scorpaenidae, Caracanthidae, Aploactinidae. pp. 2291-2358 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790.

Poss, S.G. & Allen, G.R. 1987. New Australian fishes. Part 18. A new species of Cocotropus (Aploactinidae). Memoirs of Museum Victoria 48(1): 79-82 See ref at BHL.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37290025

Depth:15-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sand/rubble areas

Max Size:6 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map