Codhead Rat Tail, Bathygadus cottoides Günther 1878

Other Names: Codhead Rat-Tail, Codhead Whiptail

Codhead Rat Tail, Bathygadus cottoides. Source: Ken Graham / NSW Fisheries. License: All rights reserved

A rare deepwater bathygadid with a wide head, a broad snout, a small eye and a low pectoral-fin ray count: Pi10-i14 (rarely i15). The outer pelvic-fin ray is slightly prolonged in a few individuals.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Bathygadus cottoides in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Apr 2024,

Codhead Rat Tail, Bathygadus cottoides Günther 1878

More Info


Known from temperate waters of Australia, from off Newcastle (New South Wales) to south-west of Cape Leeuwin (Western Australia) in 800-1600 m, also Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island regions, Tasman Sea. Found elsewhere in South Africa and New Zealand.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin II, 8-10; Pectoral fin i10-i14 (rarely i15); Pelvic fin 9 (rarely 8 or 10); Gill rakers on first arch (4-6) + (19-21);


To about 30 cm in length.


Body overall blackish, fins dark dusky to black.




Almost nothing is known of the biology of this species. The sexes are separate and fertilisation is external. Eggs and larvae are presumably pelagic.


Of no interest to fisheries, although occasionally taken in commercial trawls. The Codhead Rat Tail is a relatively rare species and is not usually found in water shallow enough to be fished commercially.


IUCN: Not evaluated.

Similar Species

Although Bathygadus cottoides is somewhat similar to small individuals of Bathygadus furvescens, it differs in having a wide head and a broad snout, a lower pectoral-fin ray count and a smaller eye..

Species Citation

Günther 1878, Annals and Magazine of Natural History 5 2(2, 22, 28): 23. Type locality: deep sea between New Zealand and the Kermadec Islands, Challenger station 169-171, 520-700 fathoms.


Dianne J. Bray

Codhead Rat Tail, Bathygadus cottoides Günther 1878


Bray, D.J., D.F. Hoese, J.R. Paxton & J.E. Gates 2006. Macrouridae. pp. 581-607 in Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3 2178 pp.

Günther, A. 1878. Preliminary notices of deep-sea fishes collected during the voyage of H.M.S. Challenger. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 5 2(2, 22, 28): 17-28, 179-187, 248-251

Iwamoto, T. 1986.  Macrouridae. p. 330-341. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Macmillan South Africa, Johannesburg. i-xx + 1-1047, Pls. 1-144.

Iwamoto, T. 1990. Family Macrouridae. pp. 90-318 in Cohen, D.M., Inada, T., Iwamoto, T. & Scialabba, N. FAO Species Catalogue. Gadiform fishes of the world (order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 10 442 pp.

Iwamoto, T. 1999. Families Macrouridae, Bathylagidae, Moridae, Bregmacerotidae. pp. 1986-1998 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 1397-2068 pp.

Iwamoto, T. & Graham, K.J. 2001. Grenadiers (Families Bathygadidae and Macrouridae, Gadiformes, Pisces) of New South Wales, Australia. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 52(21): 407-509 figs 1-114

Iwamoto, T. & McMillan, P.J. 2008. Family Bathygadidae. pp. 320-347 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Iwamoto, T. & Williams, A. 1999. Grenadiers (Pisces, Gadiformes) from the continental slope of western and northwestern Australia. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 51(3): 105-243 figs 1-58

McMillan, P. 1994. Family Macrouridae. pp. 340-364 figs 304-325 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.

Merrett, N.R. & Iwamoto, T. 2000. Pisces Gadiformes: Grenadier fishes of the New Caledonian region, southwest Pacific Ocean. Taxonomy and distribution, with ecological notes. 723-781 in Crosnier, R. (ed.). Résultats des Campagnes MUSORSTOM, v. 21. Mémoires du Muséum Nationale d'Histoire Naturelle. Paris 184: 1-744

Paxton, J.R., Hoese, D.F., Allen, G.R. & Hanley, J.E. (eds) 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Pisces: Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service Vol. 7 665 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37232030

Biology:No light organ

Depth:800-1600 m


Max Size:30 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map