Open main menu

Brachionichthys was, until recently, the only genus in the family Brachionichthyidae (commonly known as "handfishes"), but presently five genera are placed in this family of anglerfishes.[2]

Temporal range: 55–0 Ma

Eocene to Present[1]
CSIRO ScienceImage 10 The Endangered Spotted Handfish.jpg
Brachionichthys hirsutus
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Lophiiformes
Family: Brachionichthyidae
Genus: Brachionichthys
Bleeker, 1855

2, See text.

They use their pectoral fins to walk about on the sea floor. These highly modified fins have the appearance of hands, hence their scientific name, from Latin brachium meaning "arm" and Greek ichthys meaning "fish".

The prehistoric species Histiontophorus bassani, from the Lutetian of Monte Bolca, is now considered to be a handfish, sometimes even being included in Brachionichthys.


The currently recognized species in this genus are:[3]


  1. ^ Sepkoski, Jack (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology. 364: 560. Archived from the original on 2009-02-20. Retrieved 01/08/08. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ Last, P.R.; Gledhill, D.C. 2009: A revision of the Australian handfishes (Lophiiformes: Brachionichthyidae), with descriptions of three new genera and nine new species. Zootaxa, 2252: 1-77. Abstract and excerpt PDF
  3. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). Species of Brachionichthys in FishBase. April 2012 version.
  4. ^ Last, Gledhill & Holmes (2007-12-19). "A new handfish, Brachionichthys australis sp. nov. (Lophiiformes: Brachionichthyidae), with a redescription of the critically endangered spotted handfish, B. hirsutus (Lacepède)" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1666: 53–68.

External linksEdit