Red velvetfish

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Red velvetfish
Gnathanacanthus goetzeei.jpg
Scientific classification


Bleeker, 1855
G. goetzeei
Binomial name
Gnathanacanthus goetzeei
Bleeker, 1855

The red velvetfish (Gnathanacanthus goetzeei) is a marine scorpaeniform fish of the inshore waters of western and southern Australia. It is the sole member of the family Gnathanacanthidae and genus Gnathanacanthus.

This fish is red all over, and instead of scales, its skin is covered with small tubercles, hence its name. All of its fins (except caudal) are large and spined, and of its two dorsal fins, the forward one reaches to just above the large eyes. The mouth is also large, and there is also a fleshy pad just above the upper jaw. The operculum has two spines which may be concealed by skin. The fish grows up to 30 cm in length.

Red velvetfish can be found in waters surrounding Australia and are depicted on an Australian postage stamp of 1985. The fish are more active at night, when they hunt crab and octopus on the sea floor. Their spines are venomous, and can inflict painful wounds.

A recent study placed the waspfishes into an expanded stonefish clade (Synanceiidae) because all of these fish have a lachrymal saber that can project a switch-blade-like mechanism out from underneath their eye.[1][2]


  1. ^ Smith, W. Leo; Smith, Elizabeth; Richardson, Clara (February 2018). "Phylogeny and Taxonomy of Flatheads, Scorpionfishes, Sea Robins, and Stonefishes (Percomorpha: Scorpaeniformes) and the Evolution of the Lachrymal Saber". Copeia. 106 (1): 94–119. doi:10.1643/CG-17-669.
  2. ^ Willingham, AJ (April 13, 2018). "Stonefish are already scary, and now scientists have found they have switchblades in their heads". CNN.

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