Common Redmouth Whalefish, Rondeletia loricata Abe & Hotta 1963

Other Names: Redmouth Whalefish, Red-mouth Whalefish
Common Redmouth Whalefish, Rondeletia loricata, from the Tasman Sea

Common Redmouth Whalefish, Rondeletia loricata - captured in a mdiwater trawl NW of Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea, on the NORFANZ Expedition, May 2003. The skin has been damaged by the trawl net.. Source: Mark McGrouther / NORFANZ Founding Parties. License: All rights reserved


Small flabby deep-sea fishes with a large head, a large mouth and small eyes. External scales are lacking and the lateral line consists of a series of vertical rows of papillae.

The common Redmouth Whalefish is orange to reddish brown in life with reddish-orange inside the mouth and gill cavities.

Cite this page as:
John R. Paxton & Dianne J. Bray, Rondeletia loricata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Sep 2022,

Common Redmouth Whalefish, Rondeletia loricata Abe & Hotta 1963

More Info


Meristic features:  Dorsal fin 13–14; Anal fin 12–13; Pectoral fin 9–11; Pelvic fin 5; Caudal fin 18–19; Lateral line (rows of papillae) 15–19;  Gill rakers 18–21; Vertebrae 24–26.

No bony sphenotic hook over orbit; large posterior extensions of spongy bone on posttemporal dorsally and cleithrum ventrally.


To 11 cm; juveniles as small as 14 mm in length resemble adults.


Orange-brown with orange-red inside the mouth, gill cavity, and fin rays in life; dark brown fading to light brown in preservative.

Similar Species

The lack of a bony sphenotic hook, the presence of posterior bony extensions on the posttemporal and cleithrum, and fewer rows of lateral-line papillae distinguish this species from the only other species in the family, the Hooked Redmouth Whalefish, R. bicolor, that occurs in the Central Pacific (rarely) and Atlantic Oceans.


John R. Paxton & Dianne J. Bray

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37133001

Depth:500-1500 metres


Habitat:Mesopelagic, bathypelagic

Max Size:11 cm

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