Coelophrys micropus (Alcock 1891)

Other Names: Lesser Handfish

Illustration of Coelophrys micropa. Source: Bradbury (1986) Ogcocephalidae, in Smiths' Sea Fishes: 372 / Biodiversity Heritage Library. License: CC by Attribution

A grey to dark grey or bluish-black seabat, with a box-like head, a slender tail, minute pelvic fins, a deep broad illicial cavity, and two rounded ventral lobes and a dorsal flap on the esca. The body is not strongly dorso-ventrally flattened, and the head is globose and somewhat flattened ventrally.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Coelophrys micropus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Jul 2024,

Coelophrys micropus (Alcock 1891)

More Info


West of Leander Point and NE of Rowley Shoals, Western Australia; also Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, the species is widespread on the continental slope in the tropical Indo-west Pacific, depth range 395–1880 m. 


Dorsal fin 6; Anal fin 4; Pectoral fin 14-16; Vertebrae 16-18. Cephalic lateral line scale counts: preopercular 2-4; subopercular 4-6; dorsolateral branch of subopercular 4-6; supraorbital 7-10.

Disk almost globe-shaped, trapezoidal in outline with a flattened ventral surface. Illicial cavity very large. Lower jaw projecting relative to upper jaw. Dorsal surface of rostrum broad, flat with a slightly concave anterior margin and no enlarged median spine. Gill rakers as triangular plates with tiny teeth at distal angle.

Fins weak, pelvic fins extremely small. Tail relatively short and slender. Esca with paired and rounded ventral lobes, and a broad, relatively low dorsal lobe. Skin translucent, flabby, almost velvety - covered in small tubercles with slender spines.


Body pale with black tips on pelvic fins.


The specific name is from the Greek mikros (= small) and pous (= foot) in reference to the minute pelvic fins of this species.

Species Citation

Dibranchus micropus Alcock 1891, Annals and Magazine of Natural History 6 8(43, 44): 25, pl. 7 (figs 2a-b). Type locality: Bay of Bengal, 15°56'50"N, 81°30'30"E, Investigator station 120, depth 240-276 fathoms.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Coelophrys micropus (Alcock 1891)


Alcock, A. 1891. Class Pisces. In, II. – Natural history notes from H. M. Indian marine survey steamer Investigator, Commander R.F. Hoskyn, R.N., commanding.– Series II., No. 1. On the results of deep-sea dredging during the season 1890-91. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 6 8(43, 44): 16-34, 119-138 figs 1-5 pls 7-8 See ref at BHL

Alcock, A.W. 1898. Illustrations of the zoology of the Royal Indian marine surveying steamer Investigator,...Fishes. Calcutta. Part 5: no p., Pls. 18-24. (as Dibranchus macropusSee ref at BHL

Bradbury, M.G. 1986. Family No. 104: Ogcocephalidae. pp. 370-373, Pl. 15 in  Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds). Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 pls. (as Halieutopsis micropus) See ref at BHL

Bradbury, M.G. 1988. Rare fishes of the deep-sea genus Halieutopsis: a review with descriptions of four new species (Lophiiformes: Ogcocephalidae). Fieldiana 44: 1-22. See ref at BHL

Ho, H. 2020. Coelophrys micropa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T140202449A140322631. Downloaded on 16 November 2021.

Ho, H.-C. & Shao, K.-T. 2008. The batfishes (Lophiiformes Ogcocephalidae) of Taiwan, with descriptions of eight new records. Journal of the Fisheries Society of Taiwan 35: 289-313.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37212047

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:395-1880 m

Habitat:Bathydemersal, continental slope

Max Size:10.3 cm SL

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