Spearnose Whiptail, Coelorinchus acutirostris Smith & Radcliffe 1912

Spearnose Whiptail, Coelorinchus acutirostris. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC BY Attribution-NonCommercial

A small grenadier with a very slender, sharply tipped snout that measures about half the length of the head. The Spearnose Whiptail has a distinctive dark, often faint horizontal streak on the belly from the pectoral-fin base to above the anal-fin origin, a curved dark streak (often faint) below the base of the first dorsal fin from the nape to the second dorsal fin, and darkly spotted to black chest and area around the anus.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Greta Frankham, Coelorinchus acutirostris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3608

Spearnose Whiptail, Coelorinchus acutirostris Smith & Radcliffe 1912

More Info


Tropical Western Pacific and southeastern Indian Ocean; known from off northwestern and northeastern Australia, the Philippines to New Caledonia, and possibly throughout Indonesia; benthopelagic on the upper continental slope at depths between 250-480 m, in Australian waters most common between 250-350 m.


Dorsal fin II,7-10 (usually 8 or 9); Pectoral fin i15-i17; Gill rakers (inner) 6-8.
Body long, slender; snout very slender, attenuate, sharply tipped, about half head length, anterolateral margin of snout completely supported by bone; underside of head completely naked; nasal fossa usually naked, but some specimens with small scattered scales. Upper jaw short, restricted laterally, extending to below posterior one-third of orbit, with short, broad tooth band; lower jaw tooth band longer, narrower, restricted laterally; chin barbel short, fine. Body scales small, covered with conical erect spinules in 5-7 slightly divergent rows. Fossa of light organ a long blackish, scale-covered streak extending from isthmus to just before anus.


A relatively small species, reaching a total length of 24 cm.


Body with a distinctive, dark, often faint horizontal streak on belly from pectoral fin base to above anal fin origin; a curved dark streak (often faint) below base of first dorsal fin from nape to second dorsal fin; chest and vent areas darkly spotted to black.


Although of no commercial importance, this species may be taken as bycatch in commercial trawls.


Species Citation

Coelorhynchus acutirostris Smith & Radcliffe, 1912, Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus. 43(1924): 134, pl. 30(2), between Cebu and Bohol, Philippines, 10° 08 '50"N, 123° 52 '30"E.


Dianne J. Bray & Greta Frankham

Spearnose Whiptail, Coelorinchus acutirostris Smith & Radcliffe 1912


Iwamoto, T. 1999. Order Gadiformes. In Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem. Species identification guide for fisheries purposes. The living marine resources of the western central Pacific. Batoid fishes, chimeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). FAO, Rome.

Iwamoto, T. & Williams, A. 1999. Grenadiers (Pisces, Gadiformes) from the continental slope of western and northwestern Australia. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 51(3): 105-243, figs. 1-58.

Merrett, N.R. & T. Iwamoto. 2000. Pisces Gadiformes: Grenadier fishes of the New Caledonian region, southwest Pacific Ocean. Taxonomy and distribution, with ecological notes, pp. 723-781 In Crosnier, R. (ed.) Résultats des Campagnes MUSORSTOM, 21. Mem. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. 184.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37232010


Depth:250-480 m


Max Size:25+ cm

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