Smooth-head Blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus (McCulloch 1926)

Other Names: Australian Sculpin, Blobfish, Toadfish

A Smooth-head Blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus, from off northern New South Wales, June 2017, depth 1000 m. Source: Rob Zugaro / Museums Victoria. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A blobfish with a very broad, globe-shaped head, loose, thin naked skin, some minute cirri on the head, the anus about midway between the anal and pelvic fins, and neither jaw in advance of other.

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon, Psychrolutes marcidus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Jan 2020,

Smooth-head Blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus (McCulloch 1926)

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Endemic to Australian waters, from just north of Sydney, New South Wales, to off Beachport, South Australia, and off Tasmania.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin VII, 18;   Anal fin 12-13; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 24-25; Pelvic fin V I, 3.

Body very broad, depressed anteriorly (approx. 32% SL), tapering and compressed towards caudal peduncle.  Head globose, large (approx. 40% SL); dorsal profile very convex, from blunt snout to back head; eyes moderately large; interorbital distance more than twice diameter of exposed eye; mouth large extending to below hind margin of eyes or just beyond; broad band of villiform teeth in both jaws; no vomerine teeth.  Skin smooth, scaleless, loose and flabby; lateral line obvious only on head. 

Two dorsal fins comprising short based, rounded first dorsal and long based, rounded second enclosed in thick fleshy skin and appearing as one, separation of fins distinguished only by shallow notch in outer margin, originating over posterior section of opercles, extending back to and connecting with caudal peduncle by membrane; anal fin similar and opposite second dorsal but with slightly shorter base; caudal fin moderately large, rounded.  Pectoral fins large, broadly angular. Pelvic fins smal], thoracic, originating below origin of pectoral fins.


Uniformly pale brown to grey.


Occasionally taken as bycatch in commercial trawls.

Species Citation

Neophrynichthys marcidus McCulloch, 1926, Biol. Res. Endeavour 4: 215‑216, pl. lv., fig. 2. type locality: southern Australian or Tasmanian coast.


Martin F. Gomon

Smooth-head Blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus (McCulloch 1926)


Fricke, R. 1990. A new species of psychrolutid fish from Western Australia. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 36(4): 404-409.

Glover, C.J.M. 1994. Family Psychrolutidae. pp. 523-524 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.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Psychrolutidae. pp. 515-521. in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp.

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

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37305001

Depth:600-1200 m

Habitat:Bottom dweller

Max Size:38 cm

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