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.

Crested Bandfish caught off Coffs Harbour

Crested Bandfish caught off Coffs Harbour
Photographer: Mark McGrouther © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Crested Bandfish

Alternative Name/s

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.

Size range

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.

Lophotus guntheri

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Crested Bandfish specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?


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.



What does this mean?


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
Last Updated:

Tags fish, ichthyology, Crested Bandfish, Lophotus lacepede, Lophotidae, Crestfish, Unicorn Fish, Unicorn Ribbon-fish, long and skinny, ribbon-like body, silver, large eyes, > 1m, marine, deepsea,