Animal Species:Pineapplefish, Cleidopus gloriamaris De Vis, 1882

The Pineapplefish is an unusual fish that can produce light from organs on the lower jaw.

Standard Common Name


Alternative Name/s

The Pineapplefish has also been called the Knightfish.


The Pineapplefish is named for its pineapple-like appearance. It has robust scales with black margins. On either side of the lower jaw is a light organ that produces a greenish glow. The colour of the light is reported to change to red as the fish ages.

Size range

It grows to 25 cm in length.

Similar Species

The similar Japanese Pineapplefish, Monocentrus japonicus, also occurs in Australian waters. It can be distinguished from the Pineapplefish by its more rounded snout. It also has light organs on the lower jaw, but these are located on the ventral side near the front of the jaw, rather than on the sides.


The species is recorded from the east and west coasts of Australia, but not from Victoria and South 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.

Cleidopus gloriamaris

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Pineapplefish specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?


It is often observed by divers on shallow coastal reefs, but is also trawled in deeper offshore waters.

Feeding and Diet

The Pineapplefish feeds at night. Its prey are detected by light emitted from the light organs on the sides of the lower jaw. Within the light organs symbiotic bacteria produce a greenish glow.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The species is reported to make a creaking sound when disturbed.



What does this mean?


  1. Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Nakabo, T. 2002. Fishes of Japan with pictorial keys to the species, English edition. Tokyo: Tokai University Press. Pp. lxi + 1749.
  6.  Paxton, J.R., D.F. Hoese, G.R. Allen & J.E. Hanley. 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia Vol.7 Pisces Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Survey. Pp. i-xii, 1-665.

Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow
Last Updated:

Tags fish, ichthyology, Pineapplefish, Cleidopus gloriamaris, rocky, reef, Monocentridae, unusual, complex pattern, produce light, Knightfish, pineapple-link appearance, 10 cm - 30 cm, round, deepsea, marine, coastal reef,