Young Whalefish, Danacetichthys galathenus Paxton 1989

Illustration of a Young Whalefish, Danacetichthys galathenus. Source: D. Bürkel, Fig. 20, in Paxton (1989) Records of the Australian Museum 41(2): 135-206. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Danacetichthys galathenus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 11 Jun 2023,

Young Whalefish, Danacetichthys galathenus Paxton 1989

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East of Bermagui, New South Wales, over a bottom depth of 2687 m. Elsewhere the species is rare but cosmopolitan - within 37° of the equator in all three oceans.


Dorsal fin 14-16; Anal fin 14-15; Pectoral fin 21-23; Caudal fin, principal rays 13-157; Vertebrae 26-29+ 15-20=43-46, trunk canal lateral line organs and scales 16-18. 
Head very large, 2.7-2.8 in SL and wide, width at eye 2.6-3.8 in HL; snout rounded and moderate, 2.9-3.3 in HL; mouth very large, jaws ending much closer to opercular margin than level of eye; dorsal and anal bases short to moderate, 2.0-3.2 in HL; caudal peduncle short to moderate, 2.0-3.8 in HL, and moderate to deep, 1.3-2.3 in CPL; anus close to anal fin, distance 2.6-6.3 in CPD. Nasal organ small and low, without lamellae or ridges. Eye small, 15-19 in HL, but with lens well developed or reduced. 
Lateral line system of head a series of large canals with wide pores, no canals undamaged; supraorbital canal with 6 pores, apparent break between last supraorbital and first main canal pore, main canal with 3-4 pores, infraorbital canal with about 9 pores, the last displaced, not joined to main canal, mandibular canal about 8 pores, unknown if joined to preopercle with about 4 pores; neuromasts tiny and delicate. 
Lower jaw with weakly developed lateral and ventral spines posteriorly. Jaw teeth elongate, inner row with length more than 3 times basal width, closely set in well defined longitudinal rows; vomerine tooth patch rectangular, ellipsoidal or triangular; palatine and ectopterygoid teeth distinct, latter reaching level of rictus; copular tooth patch short to moderate and broad. Free gill arches 4 with slit behind ventral arm of fourth arch; holobranchs well developed on all 4 arches; holobranchs on dorsal arm of first arch. Gill rakers as separate, slightly raised, round or ellipsoidal patches of small teeth on all 4 arches (9-10 on first arch), but none on medial faces; ventral pharyngeal tooth plates present. Lateral line a broad, thin-walled tube pierced by very wide pores; lateral line scales round or widely rectangular, posteriorly close together. Cavernous tissue only at anus. Subpectoral organ present. No paired abdominal ridges or diagonal midbody ridges. No lappets, ridges, folds or membranous curtain associated with anal fin. 


Stomach lightly to darkly pigmented. 


The specific name is from the Greek galathenos (= young), in reference to the apparently immature state of all of the type specimens.

Species Citation

Type locality: Off New Caledonia, 22°43'S, 166°06'E, depth 0 to about 1330 m.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Young Whalefish, Danacetichthys galathenus Paxton 1989


Harold, A. 2015. Danacetichthys galathenus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T60470089A60786182. Downloaded on 01 July 2021.

Paxton, J.R. 1989. Synopsis of the whalefishes (family Cetomimidae) with descriptions of four new genera. Records of the Australian Museum 41(2): 135-206.

Paxton, J. R., Trnski, T. & Johnson, G.D. 2016. Cetomimidae. pp. 2173-2181 in Carpenter, K.E. & De Angelis, N. (eds). The living marine resources of the Eastern Central Atlantic. Volume 3. Bony fishes part 1 (Elopiformes to Scorpaeniformes). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. Rome, FAO. i-xiv + 1511-2350.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37132904

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Depth:1300-2000 m


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