Beacon Lightfish, Argyripnus pharos Harold & Lancaster 2003

Holotype of the Beacon Lightfish, Argyripnus pharos, BMNH 1986.9.22.41, from off South Java, Indonesia. Source: Fig. 1, in Harold & Lancaster (2003) Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 116(4): 883-891 / Biodiversity Heritage Library. License: CC by Attribution

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Argyripnus pharos in Fishes of Australia, accessed 10 Jun 2023,

Beacon Lightfish, Argyripnus pharos Harold & Lancaster 2003

More Info


West of Shark Bay to south of Ashmore Reef, Western Australia, and east of Fraser Island, Queensland. Specimens from the Ashmore Terrace (Timor Sea,  390-394m, and off Rowley Shoals (310m) are also likely this species. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific: East Africa to Madagascar, and Indonesia to the Philippines and the Coral Sea (absent from the central Indian Ocean).


Dorsal fin 9-12; Gill rakers 15-16, usually 16, with typically 12 on the ventral limb; Vertebrae 42-44; VAV + ACA  photophores 13-18; VAV + ACA photophore elevation 3.7-6.4% SL.
Moderate in size, with shallow body profile, body depth  24.7-31.9% SL; head large (to 35.1%  SL), lateral profile forming a slightly round ed angle of about 90 degrees, with apex at dentary symphysis; mouth large, oblique.


Argyripnus pharos has been confused with A. brocki, which is endemic to the area around the Hawaiian Islands.


The specific name is from the Greek pharos (= lighthouse, beacon) in reference to the dorsally displaced elements of the VAV + ACA photophore cluster.

Species Citation

Argyripnus pharos Harold & Lancaster 2003, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 116(4): 884, fig. 1. Type locality: Saleh Bay, South Java, Indonesia [8°30'S, 118°00'E (approximate)].


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Beacon Lightfish, Argyripnus pharos Harold & Lancaster 2003


Harold, A. 2020. Argyripnus pharos. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T137466286A137467483. Downloaded on 06 July 2021.

Harold, A.S. & Lancaster, K. 2003. A new species of the hatchetfish genus Argyripnus (Stomiiformes: Sternoptychidae) from the Indo-Pacific. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 116(4): 883-891 See ref at BHL

Parin, N.V. 1992. Argyripnus electronus, a new sternoptychid fish from the Sala y Gomez Submarine Ridge. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 39: 135-137 (in part, record from north-western Australia is A. pharos)

Struhsaker, P.J. 1973. Argyripnus brocki, a new species of stomiatoid fish from Hawaii, with observations on A. ephippiatus and A. iridescens. United States National Marine Fisheries Service Fishery Bulletin 71(3): 827-836 See ref at BHL (records of Argyripnus brocki from East Africa, Madagascar, northwestern Australia, the Coral Sea, and the Philippines are now considered to represent A. pharos)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37107025


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:100-492 m


Max Size:8 cm SL

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