Longhead Dreamer, Chaenophryne longiceps Regan, 1925
The Longhead Dreamer is a solitary species occuring widely in bathypelagic waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The first dorsal fin of the female is modified to act as a lure to attract prey and the males seek females for mating through highly developed sense organs. Males (1.8 cm) attach themselves to the females (28 cm) through specialised tooth-bearing denticles but are not parasitic.
The Longhead Dreamer has a rounded body with a distinct illicium projecting from the snout. It is classified in the family Oneirodidae and can be distinguished from other anglerfish families by a combination of characters that include the placement of the illicium, the smooth snout and chin that lacks a barbel and the dorsal and anal fins with 4 to 8 rays.
A second species of Chaenophryne, C. draco, the Smooth Dreamer, is known from Australian waters. The two species can be separated by characteristics of the esca and by the number of pectoral fin rays. C. longiceps has 17-22 rays (rarely fewer than 18) versus 16-19 rays (rarely more than 18) in C. draco.
It occurs widely in bathypelagic waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Other behaviours and adaptations
The first dorsal fin of the female is modified to act as a lure to attract prey.
The male seeks females for mating through highly developed sense organs. Males (1.8 cm) attach themselves to the females (28 cm) through specialised tooth-bearing denticles but are not parasitic.
- Bertelsen, E., & Pietsch, T.W. 1983. The Ceratioid Anglerfishes of Australia. Records of the Australian Museum. 35: 77-99.
- Pietsch, T. W. 1999. Oneirodidae. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 3. Batoid fishes, chimaeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-vi, 1398-2068.
- Stewart, A.L. & T.W. Pietsch. 1998. The ceratioid anglerfishes (Lophiiformes: Ceratioidei) of New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 28 (1): 1-37.