Brachionichthys is the type genus of the handfish family Brachionichthyidae.[2] Originally, all species of handfish were included in Brachionichthys, but researchers have since split species off into five additional genera.

Temporal range: 55–0 Ma
Eocene to Present[1]
CSIRO ScienceImage 10 The Endangered Spotted Handfish.jpg
Brachionichthys hirsutus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Lophiiformes
Family: Brachionichthyidae
Genus: Brachionichthys
Bleeker, 1855

2, See text.

Species of handfish use their pectoral fins to walk about on the sea floor. These highly modified fins have the appearance of hands, hence the generic epithet, from Latin brachium meaning "arm" and Greek ichthys meaning "fish".[citation needed]

The prehistoric handfish, Histiontophorus bassani, from the Lutetian of Monte Bolca, was once described as a species of 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 27 May 2010.
  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 Pauly, Daniel, 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.

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