Animal Species:Crested Bandfish, Lophotus guntheri Johnston, 1883
The Crested Bandfish has a long, silvery, ribbon-like body that can grow to 2 m in length. Little is known of its biology.
Standard Common Name
Crestfish, Unicorn Fish, Unicorn Ribbon-fish
The Crested Bandfish can be recognised by its long ribbon-like body and large eyes. It has a long-based, red dorsal fin with elongate leading rays and a short anal fin positioned just anterior to the caudal fin.
Work needs to be done on the family. The identification of the species that occurs in the south Pacific has been called into question on several occasions. It has been called Lophotus lacepede in the past. A third species, L. capellei does not occur in Australian waters.
Only two species in the family Lophotidae are currently considered to be valid in Australia; Lophotus guntheri and Eumecichthys fiski, the Unicornfish.
The species grows to around 2 m in length.
The Crested Bandfish occurs in all oceans. In Australia it has been recorded from scattered locations off New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and 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.
Distribution by collection data
The species most likely lives in deep waters.
Feeding and Diet
The diet consists of squid and small fishes.
Other behaviours and adaptations
Little is known of the biology of the Crested Bandfish. It has an internal ink sac that stores a dark, inky liquid which may be used as a defense mechanism against predators.
- Craig, M.T. & P.A. Hastings. 2004. Notes on the Systematics of the Crested Genus Lophotus (Lampridiformes: Lophotidae), with a New Record from California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science. 103(2): 57-65.
- Glover, J.C.M. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, J.C.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Olney, J.E. in Paxton, J.R. & W.N. Eschmeyer (Eds). 1994. Encyclopedia of Fishes. Sydney: New South Wales University Press; San Diego: Academic Press. Pp. 240.
- Olney, J.E. 1999. Lophotidae. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 3. Batoid fishes, chimaeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-vi, 1398-2068.
Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow