Animal Species:Deepsea Flathead, Hoplichthys haswelli McCulloch, 1907

The Deepsea Flathead can be recognised by its very large flattened head. The species occurs on soft substrates in continental shelf and continental slope depths between 200 m and 1500 m.

Deepsea Flathead, Hoplichthys haswelli

Cate Lowe © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Deepsea Flathead

Alternative Name/s

Armoured Flathead, Ghost Flathead, Glassy Flathead, Spiny Flathead

Identification

The Deepsea Flathead can be recognised by its very large flattened head and the scutes along the sides of the body. There are four strong spines on the sides of the head with smaller spines between. The body is pinkish yellow above and pale below.

The species can be separated from four other species of Hoplichthys (H.citrinus, H.filamentosus, H.ogilbyi and H. regani) that occur in Australian waters by its large size, wide interorbital space, vomer with two posterior extensions and no elongated dorsal fin spines. It looks similar to the flatheads (family Platycephalidae) but can easily be distinguished by the row of scutes along both sides of the body.

Size range

The species grows to 43 cm in length.

Similar Species

See Identification

Distribution

The species occurs in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia it is known from southern Queensland to eastern Western Australia.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Hoplichthys haswelli

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Deepsea Flathead specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The Deepsea Flathead is a benthic species that occurs on soft substrates in continental shelf and continental slope depths between 200 m and 1500 m.

Economic/social impacts

The species is reputedly good eating but is not retained in commercial catches due to the small amount of edible muscle even from large individuals.

Classification

Species:
haswelli
Genus:
Hoplichthys
Family:
Hoplichthyidae
Order:
Scorpaeniformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Gomon, M.F., Bray, D. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 2008. The Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Reed New Holland. Pp. 928.
  2. McGrouther, M.A.. 1999. Hoplichthyidae. Ghost flatheads (spiny flatheads). Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (ed). pp 2422-2524, 4 figs In The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 4. FAO species identification guide for Fishery purposes. FAO.

 


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Deepsea Flathead, Hoplichthys haswelli, Hoplichthyidae, large head, soft substrates, continental shelf, Armoured Flathead, Ghost Flathead, Glassy Flathead, Spiny Flathead, pinkish yellow, pale underside, 30 cm - 1 m, benthic, marine,