Handfish Project


This is a red handfish, but there are 14 species and they come in a variety of colours, even the red handfish aren’t always red.

Handfish (like the photo above) are a small fish less than 80mm (3in) long found in Tasmania. You may have heard of spotted handfish that live in the Derwent River, but there are other species of handfish that are even more rarely seen. Other inshore handfish species like Red Handfish, Ziebell’s Handfish and Pink Handfish are probably rarer than the Giant Panda and we don’t know much about where they live. There are concerns for their survival. We want to know if you have ever seen any! Some local divers are studying them and need information. Handfish are very different from other small fish. They have fins that are modified as ‘walking legs’. Handfish can both swim and walk across the seabed. They look like lots of other fish, except that they have fins that look like FEET and a little lure on their heads.

little rock cod compNot These Thanks! – Handfish are often confused with little red rock cod that are very common and about the same size. These ones have big fins but don’t have ‘feet’ or a lure on their head. IF YOU HAVE SEEN A HANDFISH DROP US A LINE AND GET A FREE TANK FILL AS A TOKEN OF OUR GRATITUDE EMAIL: marinelifetassie@gmail.com

Mike Jacques for Marine Life Network www.marinelife.org.au

See the current results of our red handfish studies here