Crested Bandfish, Lophotus guentheri Johnston 1883

Other Names: Crestfish, Unicorn Fish, Unicorn Ribbon-fish

A Crested Bandfish, Lophotus guntheri, that washed ashore on Bherwerre Beach just south of Jervis Bay, New South Wales, June 2020. Source: dj_maple / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A long, silvery-bluish ribbon-like fish becoming paler below, with a reddish to blackish long-based dorsal fin with tall anterior rays, and a short anal fin positioned just before the small caudal fin. The species has a vertical head profile, very large eyes, and an internal ink sac opening near the anus. The sac contains dark, inky liquid that may be used as a defense mechanism when the fish is threatened.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Lophotus guentheri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Jul 2020,

Crested Bandfish, Lophotus guentheri Johnston 1883

More Info


Known in Australian waters from off northern New South Wales to off Cheyne Beach, Western Australia. The species is pelagic in the open ocean, in depths to 90 m.


Dorsal fin 225-259; Anal fin 19-21; Pectoral fin 15-18; Vertebrae 141-152.


Feeds on cephalopods (squids) and small fish. 


The Crested Bandfish is a poorly-known species and individuals have often washed ashore after storms.


The species has been treated as Lophotus lacepede, L. capellei and L. guntheri in Australia, and there is confusion over the number of species that occur here. Although Craig et al. (2004) used the name L. guntheri for the south Pacific species further work may be needed to determine the identity of Australian material.


The species is presumably named for Albert Günther of the British Museum (Natural History). Although Johnston originally named the species guntheri, the correct spelling of species named for Albert Günther is guentheri

Species Citation

Lophotus guntheri Johnston  1883, Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 1882: 177. Type locality: near Emu Bay, northwestern coast of Tasmania.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Crested Bandfish, Lophotus guentheri Johnston 1883


Bray, D.J. 2008. Family Lophotidae. pp. 298 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. (as Lophotus lacepede)

Craig, M.T., Hastings, P.A. & Pondella, D.J. II 2004. Notes on the systematics of the crestfish genus Lophotus (Lampridiformes: Lophotidae), with a new record from California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 103(2): 57-65 fig. 1 See ref online

Glover, C.J.M. 1994. Families Lampridae, Veliferidae, Lophotidae, Trachipteridae, Regalecidae, Fistulariidae. pp. 427-435 figs 382-387 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. (as Lophotus lacepede)

Griffin, L.T. 1934. Description of a Rare Lophotid Fish from Cape Runaway, New Zealand. Records of the Auckland Institute and Museum 1(5): 239-243

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. 

Johnston, R.M. 1883. General and critical observations on the fishes of Tasmania. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 1882: 51-144. See ref online

Johnston, R.M. 1883. Description of a new species of fish, caught near Emu Bay, Tasmania. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 1882: 176-178 See ref online

Moore, J. 2019. Lophotus guntheri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T123374956A123376508. Downloaded on 16 June 2020.

Olney, J.E. 1999. Families Veliferidae, Lamprididae, Stylephoridae, Lophotidae, Radiicephalidae, Trachipteridae, Regalecidae. pp. 1966-1975 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068. (as Lophotus lacepede)

Roberts, T.R. 2012. Systematics, biology, and distribution of the species of the oceanic oarfish genus Regalecus (Teleostei, Lampridiformes, Regalecidae). Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris (N.S.) [1993-2016] A Zoologie 202: 1-268 

Stewart, A.L. 2015. Families Veliferidae, Lampridae,Lophotidae,Trachipteridae, Regalecidae. pp.681-694 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152. (as Lophotus capellei)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37270001

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:30-300 m

Habitat:Mesopelagic, oceanic, pelagic

Max Size:130 mm SL

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