Globehead Whiptail, Cetonurus globiceps (Vaillant 1884)

Other Names: Bert Newton Fish, Globehead Grenadier, Globosehead Fish, Globosehead Whiptail

Globehead Whiptail, Cetonurus globiceps - trawled off Shoalhaven Bight, New South Wales, 1171-1207 m. Source: Ken J. Graham. License: © Ken J. Graham


The distinctive Globehead Whiptail, Cetonurus globiceps, has a massive gelatinous head, a very short trunk and a long, tapering tail.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Cetonurus globiceps in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Apr 2024,

Globehead Whiptail, Cetonurus globiceps (Vaillant 1884)

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Off Crowdy Head, New South Wales, around southern Australia, to off North West Cape, Western Australia, including around Tasmania. Elsewhere the species is circumglobal in tropical and temperate waters.


Dorsal fin II, 9-10; Pectoral fin 15-19; Pelvic fin 10-11; Gill rakers (first arch) 11-14; Branchiostegal rays 7; Pyloric caecae 7-11

Trunk very short, head massive, globose, soft and fully scaled; snout broad, rounded. Mouth small, moderately protrusible; anterior half of both jaws have small, conical recurved teeth, posterior portions of jaws toothless; chin barbel minute. 

Body scales small, covered with short, conical, erect spinules, those along and before anterior part of 2nd dorsal fin enlarged; lateral line reduced to series of dots (sensory neuromasts); large naked area surrounding anus and occupying most of the space between ventral and anal fins.

First dorsal-fin base short, inclined, fin well-developed with elongate finely serrated spinous second ray; second dorsal fin rudimentary, rays much shorter than corresponding anal-fin rays; pectoral and pelvic fins relatively short, only outer ray of pelvic fin slightly produced. 


To 40 cm in length.


Body overall greyish to brownish black, fins dusky to blackish, mouth and gill cavities dark.


Feeds on small fishes, planktonic crustaceans, cephalopod molluscs and echinoderms.




Although sometimes trawled in large numbers at depths between 900-1200 metres, the Globehead Whiptail is of of no importance to commercial fisheries.


Not evaluated.


The specific name globiceps is from the Latin globus (= globe, sphere) and -ceps (= headed) in reference to the globular shape of head of this species.

Species Citation

Macrurus globiceps Vaillant, in Filhol 1884, La Nature, Paris No. 559: 183, fig. 2 Type locality: Spanish Sahara, 23°57'N, 17°12'W.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Globehead Whiptail, Cetonurus globiceps (Vaillant 1884)


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 pp. 1397-2068.

Iwamoto, T. 2015. Cetonurus globiceps. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T15522073A15603485. Downloaded on 22 February 2018.

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 Macrouridae. 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.

McMillan, P.J. & Iwamoto, T. 2015. 103 Family Macrouridae. pp. 747-827 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152.

Vaillant, L.L. 1888. Expéditions Scientifiques du Travailleur et du Talisman pendant les années 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883. Paris : G. Masson 406 pp. 28 pls. 

Vaillant, L.L. in Filhol, H. 1884. Explorations sous-marines. Voyage du "Talisman". La Nature, Paris No. 559. 182-186 pp. (as Hymenocephalus globiceps

Williams, A., Althaus, F., Pogonoski, J., Osterhage, D., et al. 2018. Composition, diversity and biogeographic affinities of the deep-sea (200–3000 m) fish assemblage in the Great Australian Bight, Australia. Deep-Sea Research II 157-168: 92-105.

Williams, A., Last, P.R., Gomon, M.F. & Paxton, J.R. 1996. Species composition and checklist of the demersal ichthyofauna of the continental slope off Western Australia (20–35º). Records of the Western Australian Museum 18: 135-155

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37232029

Biology:No light organ

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:740-2000+ m


Max Size:40 cm TL

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