Pacific Fanfish, Pteraclis aesticola (Jordan & Snyder 1901)

Pacific Fanfish, Pteraclis aesticola. Source: Hsuan-Ching Ho. License: All rights reserved

A striking silvery bluish-green to blackish pelagic fish with huge bright blue dorsal and anal fins. The large dorsal and anal fins retract into grooves formed by scaly sheaths along the fin bases.
Video of a Pacific Fanfish from off Point Plommer, near Port Macquarie, New South Wales, 14 June 2015, depth 30m, by Scott Freeman.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2016, Pteraclis aesticola in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jun 2024,

Pacific Fanfish, Pteraclis aesticola (Jordan & Snyder 1901)

More Info


Eastern Australia, from southern Queensland, to Sydney Harbour, New South Wales. Widespread in tropical and temperate waters of the Pacific, in depths to 100 m. The species is known mostly from individuals washed ashore. Juveniles are thought to inhabit shallow waters, while adults usually live in deeper offshore waters to a depth of 100 m.


Dorsal fin 46-55; Anal fin 40-43. 
Dorsal and anal fins with scaly sheaths, fins very tall; dorsal fin origin above middle of snout, fin extending to just beyond caudal-fin base, the 4th ray much stouter than other rays.


Commercially fished in parts of its range.


Preyed upon by large predatory fishes such as tunas and lancetfishes.

Similar Species

Differs from the Fanfish Pteraclis velifera. in the number of vertebrae, with 45-48 (vs 51-54 in P. velifera), the number of dorsal-fin rays, 49-52 (vs 54-57 in P. velifera) and in the number of anal-fin rays, 40-44 (vs 47-50 in P. velifera).


Pteraclis is from the Greek “ptera” (wing) and “clis” (shut), in reference to the huge dorsal and anal fins that retract into scaly sheaths.

Species Citation

Bentenia aesticola Jordan & Snyder 1901, J. Coll. Sci., Imp. Univ. Tokyo 15(2): 306, pl. 16(6). Type locality: Hitachi, Japan.


Bray, D.J. 2016


Australian Faunal Directory

Pacific Fanfish, Pteraclis aesticola (Jordan & Snyder 1901)


Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

Jordan, D.S. & Snyder, J.O. 1901. Descriptions of nine new species of fishes contained in museums of Japan. Journal of the College of Science, Imperial University of Tokyo 15(2): 301-311 pls 15-17 

Last, P.R. & Moteki, M. 2001. Bramidae. pp. 2824-2836 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. 5 2791-3379 pp. Mead, G.W. 1972. Bramidae. Dana Reports 81: 1-166 figs 1-58 pls 1-9

Starnes, W.C. 2010. Pteraclis aesticola. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154993A4685061. Downloaded on 06 November 2016.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37342013

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-100 m


Max Size:61 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map