Giant Squirrelfish, Ostichthys japonicus (Cuvier 1829)

Other Names: Deep-water Squirrelfish, Giant Squirrel-fish, Japanese Soldierfish, Japanese Squirrelfish

Giant Squirrelfish, Ostichthys japonicus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A reddish squirrelfish with red scale edges and silvery-pink scale centres.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Ostichthys japonicus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

Giant Squirrelfish, Ostichthys japonicus (Cuvier 1829)

More Info


Off Shark Bay to the Arafura Sea, Northern Territory, and off Innisfail, Queensland, to off Mallacoota, Victoria. Elsewhere the species occurs in the East-Indo-west Pacific: Myanmar and Andaman Sea east to Philippines, north to southern Japan, south Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Inhabits deep reefs.


Dorsal fin XII, 12=14; Anal fin IV, 10-12; Pectoral fin 15-17; Gill rakers 7–10 + 12–14; Lateral line scales 27-30 (pored scales); Scales above lateral line to midbase of spinous portion of dorsal fin 3½; Prepelvic scales 9.
Body depth 2.05–2.2 in SL; head length 2.35–2.5 in SL; dorsal profile of head nearly uniformly convex; snout short, 4.65–5.6 in HL; least depth of caudal peduncle 4.0–4.5 in HL. No spine at anterior end of nasal bone in adults or subadults; no large spine at corner of preoperculum in adults (subadults may have a small spine at angle); height of second suborbital bone below center of eye ½ eye diameter; last dorsal-fin spine distinctly longer than penultimate spine; space between last dorsal-fin spine and first dorsal-fin ray notably less than space between last two dorsal-fin spines.

Species Citation

Myripristis japonicus Cuvier in Cuvier, & Valenciennes 1829, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 3: 173. Type locality: Japan.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Catalog of Fishes

Giant Squirrelfish, Ostichthys japonicus (Cuvier 1829)


Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1829. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 3 500 pp., pls 41-71. See ref at BHL

Fricke, R. 2017. Ostichthys kinchi, a new species of soldierfish from New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, western Pacific Ocean (Teleostei: Holocentridae). FishTaxa 2(1): 62-70 See ref online

Fricke, R. 2018. Ostichthys spiniger, a new species of soldierfish from New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, western Pacific Ocean (Teleostei: Holocentridae). Ichthyological Research 65(1): 127-133,

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T & P.J. Kailola. 1984. Trawled Fishes of southern Indonesia and north-western Australia. Jakarta: Directorate General of Fisheries (Indonesia), German Agency for Technical Cooperation, Australian Development Assistance Bureau. 406 pp. 

Greenfield, D.W., Randall, J.E. & Psomadakis, P.N. 2017. A review of the soldierfish genus Ostichthys (Beryciformes: Holocentridae), with descriptions of two new species from Myanmar. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 26: 1–33. doi: Open access

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) 

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293.

Matsunuma, M., Fukui, Y. & Motomura, H. 2018. Review of the Ostichthys japonicus complex (Beryciformes: Holocentridae: Myripristinae) in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with description of a new species. Ichthyological Research 65(3): 285-314.

Randall, J.E. & Greenfield, D.W. 1999. Family Holocentridae. pp. 2225-2256 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790. 

Randall, J.E., Shimizu, T. & Yamakawa, T. 1982. A revision of the holocentrid fish genus Ostichthys, with descriptions of four new species and a related new genus. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 29(1): 1-26 figs 1-15 pls 1-2 

Williams, I. & Greenfield, D. 2016. Ostichthys japonicus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T67899690A115440412. Downloaded on 07 January 2019.

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. 

Whitley, G.P. 1950. Some rare Australian fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 1948–49: 32-34 figs 1-5 (described as Holotrachys major) See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37261003

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:90-240 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:45 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map