Goblinfish, Glyptauchen panduratus (Richardson 1850)

Other Names: Goblin Fish, Saddle Head, Saddle-headed Goblin Fish

A Goblinfish, Glyptauchen panduratus, at Bowen Island, Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Source: Andrew J. Green / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution

A bizarre, scorpionfish relative with variable colour pattern ranging from mottled white to reddish-brown or black, middle of body usually dark, a pale head, pale tail base and rear of dorsal and anal fins, and the eye ringed with red.
The venomous fin spines of the Goblinfish may cause an extremely painful injury.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Glyptauchen panduratus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Apr 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3215

Goblinfish, Glyptauchen panduratus (Richardson 1850)

More Info


Endemic to southern Australia from about Sydney, New South Wales, to Rottnest Island, Western Australia. Inhabits rocky reefs in bays and coastal waters, often occurring under jetties and piers.


Body elongate, compressed; head rounded to squarish, with a deep groove or notch on top behind eyes; a large erectile spine below eye; spinous part of dorsal fin very long; pectoral fins large.  To 19 cm.


Colour variable, often mottled tan above with lower side of head dark; a dark band across rear part of the body; tail base and rear of dorsal and anal fins pale; small black spots and creamy white patches scattered on body and fins; eye ringed with red.


A well-camouflaged ambush predator that usually feeds at night.


Bray, D.J. 2017

Goblinfish, Glyptauchen panduratus (Richardson 1850)


Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2nd edn, 624 pp.

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

Johnson, J.W. & Motomura, H. 2008. Family Tetrarogidae. pp. 498-501 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

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

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. 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.

Mandrytsa, S.A. 2001. Lateral Line System and Classification of Scorpaenoid Fishes (Scorpeaniformes: Scorpaenidei). Perm : Perm State Univ. Press pp. 1-393.

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp.

Poss, S.G. 1994. Family Scorpaenidae. pp. 477-494 figs 428-441 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.

Richardson, J. 1850. Notices of Australian fish. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 18: 58-77 figs 1-3

Whitley, G.P. 1931. Studies in Ichthyology No. 4. Records of the Australian Museum 18(3): 96-133 figs 1-2 pls 11-16

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37287023

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:3-60 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:20 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map