Red Cod, Pseudophycis bachus (Forster 1801)

Other Names: Hoka, Red Codling

A Red Cod, Pseudophycis bachus, at Blairgowrie, Port Phillip, Victoria, January 2018. Source: Rebecca Lloyd / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A greyish to greyish-pink cod becoming whitish below with a pale upper jaw, a narrow black margin on the dorsal, caudal and anal fins, a large dark blotch on the pectoral-fin base, and a white chin barbel and pelvic fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Pseudophycis bachus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Apr 2021,

Red Cod, Pseudophycis bachus (Forster 1801)

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Batemans Bay, New South Wales, to the Gulf St Vincent, South Australia, and around Tasmania. Elsewhere, the species occurs in New Zealand.
Inhabits muddy and sandy bottoms, and rocky areas in bays, estuaries, and coastal waters. This nocturnal species is rarely seen during the day.


Dorsal fin 9-14 + 40-50; Anal fin 39-52; Caudal fin 24; Pectoral fin 21-26; Pelvic fin 5-6; Pyloric caecae 9-10; Vertebrae 43-46; ~110-115 oblique scale rows intersecting lateral line; ~13 scales between dorsal-fin origin and lateral line.

Body of moderate depth (20-24% SL) and length, rather thick; caudal peduncle very slender. Head moderately small (24-27% SL), nearly circular in cross section, slightly depressed anteriorly; eyes of moderate size (22-24% HL); interorbital broad (34-38% HL; 6-10% SL); mouth moderately large (upper jaw length 50-53% HL), nearly horizontal, tip of maxilla reaching just past eye, snout protruding slightly in advance of lower jaw; teeth uniformly small, pointed, band in each jaw; chin with small barbel not much longer than half eye diameter.
Scales tiny, cycloid, covering body and head, extending well onto bases of unpaired fins, lateral line smoothly curved with flexure above pectoral fin, pores in naked strip not related to adjacent scales. Anus immediately before anal fin. 
Two separate dorsal fins, first with short base, second very elongate, of rather uniform height; anal fin similar to second dorsal; caudal fin truncate in large specimens, rounded in small specimens. Pelvic fins arising below point midway between eye and rear edge of preopercle, reaching slightly more than halfway from base to anus.


Feeds mostly on fishes, cephalopod molluscs, crabs and other crustaceans. 


Kemp et al. (2012) found that Red Cod have a fast growth rate, mature early and have a high fecundity. They are preyed upon by a diverse range of predators, including sea birds, seals and fishes.


Taken in large quantities by commercial trawlers working in the Bass Strait region and are commercially important. The flesh is soft and has little taste.


Although considered to be the same species, differences in numbers of scales and pyloric caecae exist between Australian and New Zealand populations. 

Species Citation

Enchelyopus bachus Forster in Bloch 1801, Systema Ichthyologiae: xxvi 53. Type locality: Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Red Cod, Pseudophycis bachus (Forster 1801)


Cohen, D.M. 1990. Families Moridae, Muraenolepididae. pp. 346-384 in Cohen, D.M., Inada, T., Iwamoto, T. & Scialabba, N. FAO Species Catalogue. Gadiform fishes of the world (order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 10 442 pp.

Cuvier, G. 1829. Le Règne Animal, distribué d'après son organisation, pour servir de base à l'histoire naturelle des animaux et d'introduction à l'anatomie comparée. Paris : Déterville Vol. 2, Edn 2, i-xv + pp. 1-406. 

Forster, J.R. 1801. in Bloch, M.E. & Schneider, J.G. Systema Ichthyologiae Iconibus ex Illustratum. Berlin. 584 pp. 110 pls 

Gomon, M.F. 1994. Families Moridae, Melanonidae, Euclichthyidae, Merlucciidae. pp. 324-340 figs 290-303 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.

Gomon. M.F. 2008. Family Moridae. pp. 302-315 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

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

Kemp, J. 2010. The population dynamics of red cod, Pseudophycis bachus: a contribution to understanding the trophic role of this important prey species. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Melbourne. 

Kemp, J., Jenkins, G.P. & Swearer, S.E. 2012. The reproductive strategy of red cod, Pseudophycis bachus, a key prey species for high trophic level predators. Fisheries Research 125–126: 161–172. Abstract

Kemp, J., Jenkins, G.P. & Swearer, S.E. 2013. Assessing the intrinsic resilience of a particularly fast-growing teleost prey species (red cod, Pseudophycis bachus). Marine and Freshwater Research 64(2) 130-138. Abstract 

Klunzinger, C.B. 1872. Zur Fische-fauna von Süd Australien. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 38(1): 17-47 pl. 2

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Paulin, C.D. 1983. A revision of the family Moridae (Pisces : Anacanthini) within the New Zealand region. Records of the National Museum of New Zealand 2(9): 81-126 figs 1-27 

Scott, T.D., Glover, C.J.M. & Southcott, R.V. 1974. The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of South Australia. Adelaide : Government Printer 392 pp. figs.

Struthers, C.D., Gomon, M.F. & Last, P.R. 2015. 107 Family Moridae (pp. 839-866) in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). 2015. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37224006

Depth:10–375 m

Fishing:Commercial fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:90 cm TL

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