Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Spotted Handfish
Spotted Handfish
Range Estuary of Derwent River, Tasmania.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Lophiiformes
Family Brachionichthyidae
Genus Brachionichthys
Species B. hirsutus
Conservation Status
Critically Endangered

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. It is a benthic fish usually found in depths of 5 to 10 metres, with overall sightings varying from a minimum of 2 metres depth up to a maximum of 30 metres deep. They have been recorded from depths between 2-30 m but appear to be most common in 5-10 m (Bruce et al., 1998).

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 handfishes are a unique, Australian family of anglerfish, the most speciose of the few marine fish families that are 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). It is believed that females reach sexual maturity after 2-3 years when they have reached a length of 75-80mm


Currently little is known regarding their diet, nevertheless they have been reported to prey on small shellfish, shrimps and polychaete worms in the wild. When captive in aquariums, spotted handfish eat mysid shrimps, amphipods and small live fish. Newly hatched handfish have been observed to do quite well on a diet that consists of small amphipods. they also eat crustaceans. look half of these sites dont even give real answers they just give half of the truth take it from me i know.


The species spawns sometime during September and October. Females lay a number of eggs varying from lay 80 to 250 eggs on a variety of vertical objects including sea grasses, sponges, macrophytic algae, Polychaete worm tubes and stalked ascidians. HI!!!!