Brachionichthys hirsutus (Lacep├Ęde, 1804)
Spotted Handfish
photo by MNHN

Family:  Brachionichthyidae (Handfishes)
Max. size:  15 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  demersal; marine; depth range 1 - 60 m, non-migratory
Distribution:  Southwest Pacific: Endemic to Tasmania, Australia. Has been nearly wiped out by an introduced starfish which preys on its egg clusters (Ref. 27438).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal soft rays (total): 19-21; Anal soft rays: 8-10. This species is unique in having the following set of characters: esca small, 15-26% (mean 20%) of illicium length (including esca); illicium very slender, no dermal spinules, length 19-20% SL (mean 20%), 2.3-2.4 times in head length; eye moderate, exceeding 5.4 times in head; body entirely covered with close-set, non-imbricate scales; scale bases subcircular with long unicuspid spinules (except for those closely-associated with pores of the acoustico-lateralis system); spinules originating from middle of scale base, variable in length over body; second dorsal-fin rays 17-19 (mean 18), fin base 61-64 (mean 62%) SL; first ray of first dorsal fin length 0.7-1.0 times length of longest ray of second dorsal fin; anal-fin rays 8-10; pectoral-fin rays usually 7 ; upper body usually covered with fine dark spots or short streaks (rarely with long streaks on head); caudal fin with dense coverage of fine spots, forming a dark submarginal bar in juveniles (Ref. 72490).
Biology:  Occurs in the continental shelf and inshore waters (Ref. 7300). Occurs in coarse to fine sand habitats in depths of 5-40 m (most commonly 5-10 m). Often found in shallow, shell-filled depressions or near rocks of low relief projecting from the substrate (Ref. 30684). Length only preliminary, replace with better value (RF). Egg masses contain about 80-250 eggs, about 1.8-2 mm in diameter; egg capsules about 3-4 mm diameter. Newly hatched juveniles are about 6-7 mm SL, attaining at least 9.0 cm SL (about 13.0 cm TL), with adults commonly about 6.0-7.5 cm SL (Ref. 72490).
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered (CR); Date assessed: 30 April 2018 (B1ab(iii,v)) Ref. (124695)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

Entered by: Sa-a, Pascualita - 05.08.96
Modified by: Kesner-Reyes, Kathleen - 19.12.08
Checked by: Froese, Rainer - 21.01.99

Source and more info: For personal, classroom, and other internal use only. Not for publication.

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