PORT PHILLIP BAY


Elephantfish 

Callorhinchus milii Bory de Saint Vincent, 1823

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Additional information in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Family level detail.
Bizarre-looking smooth-bodied fishes with a fleshy hoe-shaped snout used to probe the seafloor for food. They have a single gill slit on each side, two widely-spaced dorsal fins, large wing-like pectoral fins and a narrow anal fin just before the tail fin. A single species in Australia.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Chondrichthyes
Subclass:
Holocephali
Order:
Chimaeriformes
Family:
Callorhinchidae
Genus:
Callorhinchus
Species:
milii

General Description

Body long, somewhat compressed; snout long, tapering into a hoe-shaped process; two dorsal fins, the first triangular and preceded by a long venomous spine; pectoral fins very large; tail long, pointed. Silvery white, often with indistinct dusky blotches on body and fins. To 1.2 m.

Biology

The Elephant Fish probes the sea floor with its long snout in search of invertebrates and small fishes. Females lay leathery spindle-shaped egg cases onto soft bottoms. The species is commercially fished in southern waters.

Habitat

On soft bottoms in inshore and offshore waters, to depths of about 200 m.

Soft substrates

Open water

Reefs

Distribution guide

New Zealand and southern Australia.

Species Group

Sharks and rays Sharks

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor Midwater

Max Size

1.2 m

Diet

Carnivore

Harmful

Dorsal-fin spine is venomous.

Commercial Species

Yes

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Elephantfish, Callorhinchus milii, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 27 Apr 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6564

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