Elsman's Whipnose, Gigantactis elsmani Bertelsen, Pietsch & Lavenberg 1981

Elsman's Whipnose, Gigantactis elsmani, from Taiwan - ASIZP 61800. Source: Ho, Hsuan-Ching / Taiwan National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium. License: All rights reserved

A large black whipnose with a relatively short illicium (93-126% SL), the escal bulb not elongated, and a single proximal pair and two distal pairs of filaments. The illicial base lacks a cluster of white filaments.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Gigantactis elsmani in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Sep 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3381

Elsman's Whipnose, Gigantactis elsmani Bertelsen, Pietsch & Lavenberg 1981

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Off Sydney, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species most likely occurs worldwide.


Dorsal fin 5; Anal fin 4-5; Pectoral fin 15-17. 
Metamorphosed females have single proximal lateral pair and two distal pairs of large escal filaments, lack a distinct distal prolongation of the escal bulb; length of illicium less than 130% SL (93-126%SL); absence of escal papillae; relatively short dentary teeth (longest 3.3% DL), arranged in 5-6 rows; longest caudal fin rays 21-32.5% SL.


Males are free living.


The species "is named for the late Kai L. Elsman, whose superb illustrations have added immeasurably to this revision".

Species Citation

Gigantactis elsmani Bertelsen, Pietsch & Lavenberg 1981, Contrib. Sci. 332: 43, figs. 4E, 41, 42. Type locality: South Atlantic, 10°57'S, 11°20'W, Walther Herwig station 459/71, depth 0-1900 m. 


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Catalog of Fishes

Elsman's Whipnose, Gigantactis elsmani Bertelsen, Pietsch & Lavenberg 1981


Anderson, M.E. & Leslie, R.W. 2001. Review of the deep-sea anglerfishes (Lophiiformes: Ceratioidei) of southern Africa. Ichthyological Bulletin of the J.L.B. Smith Institute, Grahamstown 70: 1-32

Bertelsen, E., Pietsch, T.W. & Lavenberg, R.J. 1981. Ceratioid anglerfishes of the family Gigantactinidae: morphology, systematics, and distribution. Natural History Museum of  Los Angeles County Contributions in Science 332(6): 1–74 See ref at BHL

Knudsen, S. 2015. Gigantactis elsmani. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T60470481A60787970. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T60470481A60787970.en. Downloaded on 11 August 2017.

McGrouther, M.A. 2001. First record of Elsman's whipnose anglerfish, Gigantactis elsmani (Lophiformes: Gigantactinidae), from Australian waters. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 46(2): 646 See ref at BHL

Pietsch, T.W. 1999. Families Caulophrynidae, Neoceratiidae, Melanocetidae, Himantolophidae, Diceratiidae, Oneirodidae, Thaumatichthyidae, Centrophrynidae, Ceratiidae, Gigantactinidae, Linophrynidae. pp. 2026-2037 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Pietsch, T.W. 2009. Oceanic Anglerfishes. Extraordinary Diversity in the Deep Sea. Berkeley and Los Angeles : University of California Press pp. i-xii + 1-557.

Stewart, A.L. & Pietsch, T.W. 2015. 122 Family Gigantactinidae. pp. 932-936 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37217002

Biology:Bioluminescent (females)

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1200-3000 m


Max Size:48 cm SL (female)

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