Image: Slender Seamoth, Pegasus volitans

Slender Seamoth, Pegasus volitans

A 10 cm long Slender Seamoth caught while netting for prawns in the shallows, Swan River, Perth, January 2012.

Jamie Sansom
© Jamie Sansom


The Slender Seamoth occurs from south-western to north-western Western Australia and from northern Queensland to southern New South Wales.

Three species of seamoths in two genera (Pegasus and Eurypegasus) occur in Australian waters.  The Little Dragonfish, Eurypegasus draconis has a much stockier body and shorter snout. Slender Seamoth can be distinguished from the Sculptured Seamoth, Pegasus lancifer, by its longer snout.  The Sculptured Seamoth is a southern species, occurring from Victoria to south-western Western Australia.

The two Australian genera of seamoths can be separated by a combination of characters including the number of tail rings (11 or more in Pegasus, 8 or 9 in Eurypegasus), deep pits behind the eyes (lacking in Pegasus, present in Eurypegasus), and the position of the eyes (not visible from below the fish in Pegasus, visible from below in Eurypegasus).

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.

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Tags fishes, ichthyology, Slender Seamoth, Pegasus volitans, Pegasidae,