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. 2018, Cetonurus globiceps in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 May 2022,

Globehead Whiptail, Cetonurus globiceps (Vaillant 1884)

More Info


Off Exmouth Gulf (WA), south and eastwards to off South West Rocks (NSW), at depths of 740-1700 m. Elsewhere the species is Widespread in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Western Pacific off Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Indonesia.


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.


Cetonurus is from the Greek ketos, meaning monster or whale, and oura meaning tail. The species name globiceps refers to the enormous globose head.

Species Citation

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


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Globehead Whiptail, Cetonurus globiceps (Vaillant 1884)


Bray, D.J., D.F. Hoese, J.R. Paxton & J.E. Gates. 2006. Macrouridae (pp. 581-607). In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells (Eds.) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. CSIRO Publishing & ABRS, 3 vols., 2248 pp

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

Iwamoto, T. & K.J. Graham. 2001. Grenadiers (Families Bathygadidae and Macrouridae, Gadiformes, Pisces) of New South Wales, Australia. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 52(21): 407-509, 114 figs.

Iwamoto, T. & P.J. McMillan. 2008. Macrouridae. In Gomon, M.F.,D.J. Bray & R.H. Kuiter. 2008. Fishes of Australia’s Southern Coast. New Holland Publishers & Museum Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. 1-928p.

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.

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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