Banded Whiptail, Coelorinchus fasciatus (Günther 1878)

Other Names: Banded Whip-tail, Striped Whiptail

Banded Whiptail, Coelorinchus fasciatus, from off New South Wales. Source: Ken Graham / NSW Fisheries. License: All rights reserved

A large grey to brownish grenadier, becoming paler below, with 8-12 dark saddles along the back from the nape to the end of tail, a black circle around the eye, mouth and gill cavity dark, lips and barbel pale, and the first dorsal and anal fins black, sometimes paler at the base.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Greta J. Frankham, Coelorinchus fasciatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jul 2024,

Banded Whiptail, Coelorinchus fasciatus (Günther 1878)

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Circumglobal in temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere; found off southern Africa, the southern tip of South America, New Zealand and southern Australia; bathydemersal on the continental shelf and slope at depths between 73-1086 m, most abundant in 400-800 m in Australian waters, rare off the southern coast.


First dorsal fin II, 9-10; Pectoral fin 14-18; Pelvic fin 7; Gill rakers 8-9; PC 12-23 (mean 16.6).
Head large, eye large, longer than snout and postorbital length; snout short, broad, bluntly pointed in dorsal view, tipped with small blunt tubercle, fully scaled behind leading edge, anterolateral margins incompletely supported by bone; jaw teeth small, in bands. Body scales large, deciduous, with up to 15 weakly divergent rows of small spinules, predorsal scales thickened, forming low crest or ridge on dorsal midline, 3rd or 4th scale before dorsal-fin origin often prominent; dorsal surface of snout without clear scaleless areas, underside of head naked, nasal fossa scaled ventrally. Second spine of first dorsal fin smooth, pectoral-fin base below first dorsal fin, pelvic-fin base behind first dorsal fin, outer ray of pelvic fin slightly elongate. Naked fossa of light organ relatively small, narrow, extending from anus midway to pelvic fin bases.


A large species, reaching a total length of 35 cm.


Overall grey to brownish, pale ventrally; 8-12 dark saddle marks from nape to end of tail, alternate saddles paler; orbit encircled with black, mouth, gill cavity dark, lips and barbel pale; first dorsal and anal fins black, sometimes paler at base.


Carnivorous on small fishes (myctophids and the sternoptychid, Maurolicus), crustaceans, polychaete worms, gastropod and bivalve molluscs and echinoderms.


Banded Whiptails spawn from July to September off South Africa.


Of minor commercial importance and taken as bycatch in commercial trawls throughout range; an important food item of the ling, Genypterus blacodes in New Zealand waters. Although seldom eaten in Australian waters, the flesh is reported to be tasty.


Species Citation

Macrurus fasciatus Günther, 1878, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (5)2(2): 24, east coast of southern South America [erroneously in the original publication as the west coast, Iwamoto, 1978].


Dianne J. Bray & Greta J. Frankham

Banded Whiptail, Coelorinchus fasciatus (Günther 1878)


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

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Fisheries Development Authority, Hobart, 563 pp.

May, J.L. & J.G.H. Maxwell. 1986. Trawl fish from temperate waters of Australia. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, Tasmania. 492 p.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37232002


Depth:700-1050 m

Fishing:Minor commercial


Max Size:50+ cm TL

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