Pencil Coffinfish, Chaunax penicillatus McCulloch 1915

Other Names: Fluffylure Frogmouth

Pencil Coffinfish, Chaunax penicillatus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

An orange to reddish coffinfish with yellow vermiculations and some deep reddish saddle-like bands on the back. The illicium is very short and retracts into a black and very deep illicial trough. The esca has many stout black cirri above and white cirri below.
The Pencil Coffinfish is the most widely-distributed Chaunax species in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2016, Chaunax penicillatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 11 Jul 2020,

Pencil Coffinfish, Chaunax penicillatus McCulloch 1915

More Info


Known in Australian waters from west of Bernier Island (24°53'S) to south of Scott Reef (14°18'S) WA, and east of Flinders Reefs, Queensland (17°30'S) to east of Maria Island, Tasmania (42°41'S).
Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the Indo-west Pacific, including Kenya, South Africa, Madagascar, Japan, Taiwan, South China Sea, Australia and New Zealand.


Dorsal-fin rays III, 11–12 (modally 12); anal-fin rays 6–7 (7); pectoral-fin rays 11–13. A species in the C. pictus-species group with a black and very deep illicial trough, an extremely short illicium and esca with numerous stout black (anterior face) and white (posterior face) cirri (Figs. 9B–C). Gill rakers: GRi = 13–14 (3–4+9–10); GRii = 8–10; GRiii = 8–11; GRiv = 7–8. Lateral-line counts: AB = 10–12 (mainly 11); BB' = 4–5 (5); BD = 2–3 (2); CD = 6–7; EF = 3–5 (4); FG = 3–4 (3); GH = 10–13 (11–12); BI = 35–40 (36–38).

Species Citation

Chaunax penicillatus McCulloch, 1915, Biol. Res. F.I.S. Endeavour 1909-1914 3(3): 167, pl. 33(2). Type locality: off Cape Everard, VIC, depth 160-200 fathoms.


Bray, D.J. 2016

Pencil Coffinfish, Chaunax penicillatus McCulloch 1915


Caruso, J.H. 1999. Family Chaunacidae. pp. 2020-2021 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. (p. 2022, as Chaunax penicillatus and C. tosaensis)

Gomon, M.F. & Ho, H.-C. 2008. Family Chaunacidae. pp. 377-379 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Ho, H.-C. 2015. 114 Family Chaunacidae (pp. 888-895). In: Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. 2015. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152.

Ho, H.-C. & Last, P.R. 2013. Two new species of the coffinfish genus Chaunax (Lophiiformes: Chaunacidae) from the Indian Ocean. Zootaxa 3710 (5): 436-448.

Ho, H-C., Roberts, C.D. & Stewart, A.L. 2013. A review of the anglerfish genus Chaunax (Lophiiformes: Chaunacidae) from New Zealand and adjacent waters, with descriptions of four new species. Zootaxa 3620(1): 89–111. PDF available, Open access

Ho, H.-C. & Shao, K.-T. 2010. A new species of Chaunax (Lophiiformes: Chaunacidae) from the western South Pacific, with comments on C. latipunctatus. Zootaxa 2445: 53-61.

Le Danois, Y. 1979. Révision systématique de la famille des Chaunacidae (Pisces Pediculati). UO. Japanese Society of Ichthyologists 30: 1-76.

Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds) 1986. Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 pls.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37211004

Depth:200-1000 m


Max Size:28 cm SL

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