Smallspine Spookfish, Harriotta haeckeli Karrer 1972

Harriotta haeckeli. Source: CSIRO National Fish Collection. License: CC by Attribution

A spookfish with an elongate snout that can be distinguished by its smaller size, very small eyes, and short first dorsal fin and fin spine. The Smallspine Spookfish also has the upper caudal-fin lobe similar in height to, but longer than, the lower caudal-fin lobe.

Extraordinary video of a Smallspine Spookfish swimming 10 metres above the seafloor in Hydrographer Canyon during Dive 05, July 13, of the Okeanos Explorer Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition 2013. Video courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

Cite this page as:
Reardon, M.B & Bray, D.J. 2018, Harriotta haeckeli in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 May 2024,

Smallspine Spookfish, Harriotta haeckeli Karrer 1972

More Info


Off New South Wales, eastern Victoria and Tasmania. Elsewhere, the species is benthopelagic on the lower continental slope, with a discontinuous distribution (north-east Atlantic, central Indian Ocean). Inhabits deepwater slopes, troughs and seamounts at depths of 1,114−2,603 m.


74 cm TL (excluding the tail filament).


A rare and poorly known species - nothing known of its biology, ecology, reproduction or population structure and size. 


Although occasionally taken as bycatch in deepwater trawl fisheries, this species usually occurs at depths beyond commercial fishing range.


IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Species Citation

Harriotta haeckeli Karrer, 1972, Mitt, Zool. Mus. Berlin 48(1): 210, fig. 3. Type locality: North Atlantic [63°21´N, 57°00´W]. 


Reardon, M.B & Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Smallspine Spookfish, Harriotta haeckeli Karrer 1972


Dagit, D.D. & Walls, R.H.L. 2015. Harriotta haeckeli. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T60139A70709321. Downloaded on 21 October 2016.

Didier, D.A. 1995. Phylogenetic systematics of extant chimaeroid fishes (Holocephali, Chimaeroidei). American Museum Novitates (3119): 1-86.

Karrer, C. 1972. Die Gattung Harriotta Goode und Bean, 1895 (Chondrichthys, Chimaeriformes, Rhinochimaeridae). Mitteilungen aus dem Zoologischen Museum in Berlin 48(1): 203-221 figs 1-5

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls.

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37044003

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1,114-2,603 m


Max Size:74 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map