Spotted handfish

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The spotted handfish, Brachionichthys hirsutus, is a rare Australian fish from the family Brachionichthyidae. It is classified as Critically Endangered (CR - A1cde) on the IUCN Red List 2002.

The spotted handfish is unusual in that it has highly adapted pectoral fins, which appear like hands (hence the name) and allow it to walk on the sea floor.

It has a highly restricted territory, being found only in the estuary of Derwent River, Tasmania, and nearby areas.

The handfish is a unique, Australian family of anglerfish. The anglerfish family Brachionichthyidae (handfish's) is the most speciose of the few marine fish families that are an endemic to Australia. Handfish are unusual, small (up to 120mm in length), slow moving benthic fishes that prefer to 'walk' rather than swim. The pectoral, or side fins, are leg-like with extremities resembling a human hand (hence their common name).


  • Listed as Critically Endangered (CR A1cde v2.3)

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