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Glyptauchen panduratus
Glyptauchen panduratus Goblinfish P1021066.JPG
Conservation status
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification

Günther, 1860
G. panduratus
Binomial name
Glyptauchen panduratus
(J. Richardson, 1850)
Apistes panduratus Richardson, 1850
Goblinfish Glyptauchen panduratus (Richardson 1850), from lateral and head from dorsal

Glyptauchen panduratus, the goblinfish, is a species of waspfish endemic to the reefs off the southern coast of Australia at depths from 5 to 60 metres (16 to 197 ft). This species grows to a total length of 20 centimetres (7.9 in). This species is the only known member of its genus.


  • Apistes panduratus Richardson, 1850 (original combination)
  • Glyptauchen insidiator Whitley, 1931

Etymology: Glyptauchen: Greek, glyptes = carver + Greek auchen = neck


The fish has an elongated, compressed body with a distinctive rounded to squarish head, with a 'neck', or notch, between the eyes and dorsal fin. A large erectile spine occurs on each side below the eyes which are ringed with red, and are the most visible part of the fish. The fins are well developed, the spinous part of dorsal fin is very long and fairly high, and the pectorals are long and wide and may be spread to the sides like fans. The colouration is cryptic, and is variable from white to grey, reddish-brown, and black. The fish can rapidly adjust its colouration to blend in with the environment. A dark band may be seen across the rear part of the body, with a caudal peduncle and posterior of dorsal and anal fins pale. Whitish patches and small black spots may be scattered on body and fins.

The goblinfish has venomous dorsal spines.


The fish is a bottom dweller, generally nocturnal, and does not move around much during the day, so it is not seen very often by divers.

Habitat and distribution

It is found in sheltered and moderately exposed coastal reef and rocky areas in estuaries between 3 and 60 m deep near Rottnest Island, Western Australia, to Sydney, New South Wales, and around Tasmania.

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