Golden Roughy, Aulotrachichthys pulsator Gomon & Kuiter 1987

A Golden Roughy, Aulotrachichthys pulsator. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved


A rare bioluminescent roughy found only in South Australia. A rare golden-brown roughy becoming silvery below, with a golden hue, and a broad silvery stripe (luminescent organ) along the lower side from the pelvic-fin base almost to the caudal-fin base. The fins are pale, with brownish caudal-fin lobes.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Aulotrachichthys pulsator in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 May 2024,

Golden Roughy, Aulotrachichthys pulsator Gomon & Kuiter 1987

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Endemic to South Australia, from east of Thistle Island, Spencer Gulf, to Topgallant Island. Inhabits rocky reefs.


Dorsal fin V,13; Anal fin II,9; Caudal fin 19; Pectoral fin 12; Pelvic fin I,6; Lateral–line scales 28; Gill rakers 5-7 + 1 + 11-13 = 17-21; Abdominal scutes 8-9.

Body moderately shallow, depth at dorsal-fin origin 33-35% SL; dorsal and ventral profiles nearly symmetrical; eye large, horizontal diameter, 35-39% head length, placed almost midlaterally on head.

Striated silvery tissue extending posteriorly from each pelvic-fin base along the ventral profile of sides nearly to the caudal-fin base.

Dorsal-fin spines becoming progressively and distinctly longer posteriorly, only second and third subequal; first three segmented rays likewise becoming progressively longer and subsequent rays becoming progressively shorter; profile of dorsal fin broadly triangular.


To at least 8 cm SL.

Similar Species

Differs from the similar New Zealand Roughy, Aulotrachichthys novaezelandicus, in having an additional segmented anal-fin ray, a proportionately shallower body and a larger eye.


The name pulsator is from Latin, meaning 'striker' or 'beater', in reference to the click-like sounds made by the Golden Roughy when disturbed.

Species Citation

Aulotrachichthys pulsator Gomon & Kuiter 1987, Memoirs of the Museum Victoria 48(1): 27, Fig. 1. Type locality: Topgallant Island, South Australia, 33°43'S, 134°38'E, depth 25 m. 


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Golden Roughy, Aulotrachichthys pulsator Gomon & Kuiter 1987


Gomon, M.F. 1994. Families Trachichthyidae, Monocentridae. pp. 399-412 figs 358-369 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 Trachichthyidae. pp. 420-430 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Gomon, M.F. & Kuiter, R.H. 1987. New Australian fishes. Part 8. A new species of Aulotrachichthys (Trachichthyidae). Memoirs of Museum Victoria 48(1): 27-29 See ref at BHL

Kotlyar, A.N. 1996. Beryciform Fishes of the World Ocean. Moscow : VNIRO Publishing 368 pp. (as Paratrachichthys pulsator)

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.

Moore, J. 2020. Aulotrachichthys pulsator. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T123358286A123360096. Accessed on 01 February 2023.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37255012


Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Depth:25-46 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:8 cm SL


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