Spatulate Whiptail, Coelorinchus spathulata McMillan & Paulin 1993

Other Names: Spatulate Rattail

Spatulate Whiptail, Coelorinchus spathulata. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC BY Attribution-NonCommercial

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Bray, D.J. & Frankham, G.J. 2017, Coelorinchus spathulata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jul 2024,

Spatulate Whiptail, Coelorinchus spathulata McMillan & Paulin 1993

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Southwestern Pacific; known from off northeastern Australia and New Zealand; bathydemersal on the continental slope at 670-710 m.


Dorsal fin II, 8-9; Pectoral fin 13-16; Pelvic fin 7; Gill rakers (inner) 6-9; Branchiostegal rays 6.
Head long, body slender, greatest depth less than greatest width of head; snout slender, tipped with a spearhead-shaped terminal scute, anterolateral margin completely supported by bone; mouth restricted at posterior corners; jaw teeth small, none enlarged, upper jaw teeth in short broad band, lower jaw teeth in long tapering bands; chin barbel short, fine; scales absent from underside of head and lower jaw; top of snout with small, thin, finely spinulated scales; dorsum of trunk and tail with large scales, covered with slender, greatly reclined, slightly recurved, conical spinules in 8-11 parallel rows. Pectoral and pelvic fins short, outer pelvic-fin ray barely extending to anal-fin origin. Anus slightly removed from anal-fin origin. Light organ externally visiblenakes periproct region surrounding anus, fossa of light organ extending onto chest.


Reaches a total length of 28 cm.


In preservative - trunk and tail pale dorally, somewhat flesh coloured, overlain with fine, netlike pattern of margins of scale pockets; pearl-white ventrally and peppered with large melanophores; ventral surfaces of abdomen dark violet, most of chest and dermal window of light organ black; head pearly-white over gill covers, tawny or dusky over other surfaces; underside of head white, covered with fine melanophores in some. First dorsal fin with second spinous ray black, remaining rays pale or light dusky; upper edge of pectoral fin blackish, remainder pale; other fins pale or whitish to light dusky. Inner lining of mouth black, pale peripherally over oral valves, gums, lips; inner lining of gill chamber black; peripheral margins pale; gill arches and rakers dark, filaments pale.


Carnivorous on small crustaceans, polychaete worms and small fishes.




Of no commercial importance.


Species Citation

Coelorinchus spathulata McMillan & Paulin 1993, Copeia 1993(3): 832, fig. 9, Wanganella Bank, New Zealand  33°07.4-07.6'S, 166°52.1-50.3'E.


Bray, D.J. & Frankham, G.J. 2017

Spatulate Whiptail, Coelorinchus spathulata McMillan & Paulin 1993


Bray, D.J., D.F. Hoese, J.R. Paxton & J.E. Gates. 2006. Macrouridae (pp. 581-607). In Hoese, D.F., D.J. Bray, G.R. Allen, J.R. Paxton, P.L. Beesley & A. Wells (Eds.) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. Fishes. CSIRO Publishing & the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS), 3 vols., 2248 pp.

Iwamoto, T. 1999. Order Gadiformes. In Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem. Species identification guide for fisheries purposes. The living marine resources of the western central Pacific. Batoid fishes, chimeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). FAO, Rome.

Iwamoto, T. & Merrett,  N.R. 1997. Pisces Gadiformes; Taxonomy of Grenadiers of the New Caledonian region, southwest Pacific. in Crosnier, A (ed.), Résultats des Campagnes MUSORSTOM, Volume 18.  Mém. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. Paris 176: 473-570.

McMillan, P.J. & Paulin, C.D. 1993. Descriptions of nine new species of rattails of the genus Coelorinchus (Pisces, Macrouridae) from New Zealand. Copeia 1993(3): 819-840.

Merrett, N.R. & T. Iwamoto. 2000. Pisces Gadiformes: Grenadier fishes of the New Caledonian region, southwest Pacific Ocean. Taxonomy and distribution, with ecological notes, pp. 723-781 In Crosnier, R. (ed). Résultats des Campagnes MUSORSTOM, 21. Mem. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. 184.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37232118


Depth:580-785 m


Max Size:28 cm TL

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