Gerlachea australis Dollo 1900

A brown Antarctic dragonfish with 4-5 dark brown vertical bars, a dark diagonal stripe across the cheek, dark tips on the jaws, and a large black spot on the pectoral-fin base.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Gerlachea australis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Mar 2024,

Gerlachea australis Dollo 1900

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Occurs throughout the Australian Antarctic Territory. Elsewhere the species is circum-Antarctic in the Southern Ocean.


Dorsal fin 44-48; Anal fin 34-36; Gill rakers (O-l)+l +(9-12); Lateral line (upper) 80-96; Lateral-line (lower) 23; Vertebrae 62-64. 
Body depth at pectoral-fin base 9.2-12.2, body depth at anal-fin origin 10.0-14.4 and head length 3.0-3.3 in SL. Snout length 2.2-2.5, eye diameter 4.2-5.1, interorbital width 12.4-18.1 and upper jaw length 3.0-3.2 in HL. Distances from snout to dorsal-fin origin 2.4-2.8, to pelvic-fin insertion 3.2-3.7 and to anal-fin origin 1.6-1.9 in SL. Snout long and spatulate. Maxilla reaches to second infraorbital pore or slightly behind it. 
Cephalic sensory canals not enlarged, pores small and arranged as follows: preopercular-mandibular 10; infraorbital 5-1-3; supraorbital 4; temporal 6; supratemporal 2-1-2; coronal pore present. Nostril in front of anteriormost infraorbital pore.
Body and cheek covered with small cycloid scales; opercle naked except for 2-3 rows of scales on upper part; on cheek, scales reach forward to fourth infraorbital pore. 
Two lateral lines with tubular scales, the upper near dorsal-fin base and the lower near anal-fin base; middle lateral line (on caudal peduncle) absent. 


In preservative: body brown with 4-5 dark brown vertical bars of varying length and depth; opercle and ventral part of head pale brown; cheek with a dark diagonal stripe; jaws with black tips. Pectoral-fin base with a large dark spot; dorsal fin black anteriorly, with pigment gradually becoming a basal stripe posteriorly; distal edge of anteriormost anal-fin rays dark, but anal fin otherwise pale; caudal and pelvic fins dark; pectoral fin dusky. 


Feeds mostly on pelagic crustaceans: Euphausia superba, Hyperiella antarctica, Euphausia crystallorophias and other amphipods.


Males are significantly smaller than females, and both sexes live to about 14 years of age. This species has a long pelagic larval phase.

Species Citation

Gerlachea australis Dollo 1900, Bulletin de l'Academie Royal de Belgique 3: 196. Type locality:Antarctic, 71°34'S, 89°10'W [or 71°14'S, 89°14'W], depth 500 fathoms.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Gerlachea australis Dollo 1900


Balushkin, A.V. 2000. Morphology, classification, and evolution of notothenioid fishes of the Southern Ocean (Notothenioidei, Perciformes). Journal of Ichthyology 40(Supplement 1): 74-109 

Dollo, L. 1900. Gerlachea australis, poisson abyssal nouveau recueilli par cette Exédition Antarctique Belge. Communication préliminaire. Bulletin de l'Academie Royal de Belgique 3: 194-206

Eastman, J.T. & Eakin, R.R. 2000. An updated species list for notothenioid fish (Perciformes; Notothenioidei), with comments on Antarctic species. Archive of Fishery and Marine Research 48(1): 11-20 

Gon, O. 1990. Bathydraconidae. pp. 364-380 in Gon, O. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds). Fishes of the Southern Ocean. Grahamstown : J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology 462 pp. See ref at BHL

Kellermann, A. (ed.) 1990. Identification key and catalogue of larval Antarctic fishes. Berichte zur Polarforsch 67: 1-136.

Kock, K.-H. & Kellermann, A. 1991. Reproduction in Antarctic notothenioid fish. Antarctic Science 3(2): 125-150.  DOI:

La Mesa, M., Calì, F., Donato, F., Riginella, E. & Mazzoldi, C. 2018. Aspects of the biology of the Antarctic dragonfish Gerlachea australis(Notothenioidei: Bathydraconidae) in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Polar Biology 41: 793.

Loeb, V.J., Kellermann, A.K., Koubbi, P., North, A.W. & White, M.G. 1993. Antarctic larval fish assemblages: a review. Bulletin of Marine Science 53(2): 416-449. See ref online, open access

Miller, R.G. 1993. History and Atlas of the Fishes of the Antarctic Ocean. Carson City, Nevada : Foresta Institute for Ocean and Mountain Studies i-xx + 792 pp.

Van der Molen, S. & Matallanas, J. 2003. Oocyte development and maturity classification of Gerlachea australis from the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Polar Biology 26: 653–658

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37406756

Depth:200-670 m

Habitat:Benthic, Southern Ocean

Max Size:24 cm SL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map