Brilliant Pearlside, Argyripnus iridescens McCulloch 1926

Other Names: Pearlyside Lightfish

Brilliant Pearlside, Argyripnus iridescens. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial

A silvery pearlside with the light organs surrounded in black pigment, a large black patch behind the upper part of the head, a smaller, fainter black patch on the caudal peduncle, and blackish tips on the dorsal-fin rays.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Argyripnus iridescens in Fishes of Australia, accessed 08 Dec 2022,

Brilliant Pearlside, Argyripnus iridescens McCulloch 1926

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Off Southern Queensland, to the North West Shelf, Western Australia, excluding Victoria and Tasmania. Elsewhere the species occurs on the Norfolk Ridge, New Zealand. 


Dorsal fin 11-13; Anal fin 23-25; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 16-17; Pelvic fin 7; Vertebrae 45-46; Gill rakers 20-22.  
Body of moderate depth (26-29% SL), compressed;no spinous projections on back in front of dorsal fin. Head of moderate size (29-35% SL); eyes large (approx. 44% HL); mouth large, nearly horizontal, extending to hind border of eye; jaw teeth small, needle-like, in single row; small teeth on either side of vomer and on palatines; prominent patch of spines on either side of nape at back of head. Scales cycloid, weakly attached.  
Light organs in ventral row anteriorly and broken lateral row posteriorly, 12-14 behind anal fin.  
Dorsal fin short, positioned at middle of body; adipose fin small, behind rayed dorsal; anal fin long, positioned in posterior half of body, anterior rays much longer than posterior rays; caudal fin forked. Pectoral fins of moderate size, low on body. Pelvic fins short, inserted under dorsal fin. 


The specific name is from the Latin iris (= rainbow) and -escent (= resembling), in reference to the iridescent rainbow-lik colours (on a black background) on parts of the head and anterior body.

Species Citation

Argyripnus iridescens McCulloch 1926, Biol. Res. Endeavour 5(4): 169, pl. 45, fig. 2. Type locality: Great Australian Bight south of Eucla, Western Australia; depth 350-450 fathoms.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Brilliant Pearlside, Argyripnus iridescens McCulloch 1926


Harold, A. 2020. Argyripnus iridescens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T137464293A137467478. Downloaded on 19 November 2021.

Harold, A.S. & Gomon, M.F. 2008. Various family accounts. pp. 225 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Harold, A.S., Stewart, A.L. & Roberts, C.D. 2015. Family Sternoptychidae. pp. 446-468 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds) The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 2 pp. 1-576.

McCulloch, A.R. 1926. Report on some fishes obtained by the F.I.S. Endeavour on the coasts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South and South-Western Australia. Part 5. Biological Results of the Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavour 1909-1914 5(4): 157-216 figs 1-5 pls 43-56

Paxton, J.R. 1994. Families Gonostomatidae, Photichthyidae, Sternoptychidae. pp. 246-251 figs 221-224 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.

Struhsaker, P.J. 1973. Argyripnus brocki, a new species of stomiatoid fish from Hawaii, with observations on A. ephippiatus and A. iridescens. United States National Marine Fisheries Service Fishery Bulletin 71(3): 827-836. See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37107004


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:180-800 m


Max Size:14 cm TL

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