Warty Handfish, Thymichthys verrucosus (McCulloch & Waite 1918)

Other Names: Warty Anglerfish

A Warty Handfish, Thymichthys verrucosus. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A rare handfish with a variable colour pattern - usually pink or greyish with paler and darker blotches, spots and streaks sometimes forming net-like pattern, a mostly blackish caudal peduncle, and mostly pale fins with faint spots.

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray, Thymichthys verrucosus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4325

Warty Handfish, Thymichthys verrucosus (McCulloch & Waite 1918)

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Endemic to southern Australia from south of Montague Island, New South Wales, to off Wilson Bluff, South Australia, and to Gellibrand Point, Tasmania. 


Meristic features: Dorsal fin I + II + 13-17; Anal fin 6-9; Caudal fin 9; Pectoral fin 7-9; Pelvic fin I, 4.
Body short, tapering, posterior half robust; belly frequently enlarged. Head large, depth greater than depth of expanded tail, rounded or slightly compressed in cross-section; eyes small; mouth small, reaching to below centre of eye; teeth tiny, narrow band in each jaw; gill opening a tiny tubular pore behind pectoral-fin base.

Scales absent;  skin smooth, covered in minute warts, lacking spinules; long fleshy filaments between soft dorsal-fin origin and gill pore and on upper base of pectoral fin; other areas of body and first dorsal fin frequently with smaller filaments.

Dorsal fins in three unconnected parts, illicium (first spine), spinous dorsal and soft dorsal; illicium prominent, based on tip of snout, undamaged lure 30-50% length of whole structure; spinous dorsal on top of head, of moderate height, anterior margin of first spine smooth; soft dorsal moderately low, lower half of fin usually covered with sheath of warty skin; anal fin of moderate size, below posterior half of soft dorsal; caudal fin narrow, rounded. Pectoral fin arm-like, tip directed laterally forwards and downwards. Pelvic fins jugular.


Occasionally caught by fishermen dredging for scallops.

Species Citation

Sympterichthys verrucosus McCulloch & Waite, 1918, Rec. S. Austr.  Mus. 1(1): 76, pl. 7, fig. 3. Type locality: St Vincent Gulf, South Australia.


Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray

Warty Handfish, Thymichthys verrucosus (McCulloch & Waite 1918)


Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Last, P.R. 1994. Family Brachionichthyidae. pp. 283-285, figs 252-253 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.

Last, P.R. & Gledhill, D.C. 2009. A revision of the Australian handfishes (Lophiiformes: Brachionichthyidae), with descriptions of three new genera and nine new species. Zootaxa 2252: 1-77.

Last, P.R. & Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Brachionichthyidae: Handfishes. pp. 375-376 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. (376, as Sympterichthys verrucosus)

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs. (253, as Brachionichthys sp 3)

McCulloch, A.R. & Waite, E.R. 1918. Some new and little known fishes from South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) 1(1): 39-78 figs 26-31 pls 2-7

Scott, E.O.G. 1953. Observations on some Tasmanian fishes. Part 6 [5 in error]. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 87: 141-166 figs 1-4

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37209001

Depth:5-230 m

Habitat:Sandy, shelly bottoms

Max Size:8 cm TL


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