Silver Whiptail, Coelorinchus argentatus Smith & Radcliffe 1912


Coelorinchus-argentatus. Source: Coelorinchus-argentatus. License:

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Bray, D.J. & G. Frankham, 2011, Silver Whiptail, Coelorinchus argentatus, in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 May 2016,

Silver Whiptail, Coelorinchus argentatus Smith & Radcliffe 1912

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Inhabits waters of the tropical Indo-West Pacific and southeastern Indian Ocean; known from the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, and questionably from South Africa; benthopelagic on the continental shelf at depths between 80-580 m.


Meristics: D II, 8-10; P 15-18; V 7; GR (inner) 8-9; BR 6; Pyloric caecae about 9.

Body: Snout moderately long with slight humplike rise in dorsal profile over nostril, anterolateral margins not fully supported by bone; upper jaw about one-third head length, extending posteriorly below hind margin of orbit. Broad, median-ventral streak of a light organ extends from anus onto chest just behind isthmus.

Scales and body covering: Body scales thin, with short, fine, conical spinules in slightly divergent rows to somewhat quincunx pattern. Scales on snout and interorbit thin, but densely covered with short, conical spinules. Underside of head completely naked (except for overlapping scales on snout), underside of snout with tiny black punctations and small, black, hairlike papillae; nasal fossa naked, naked area extending posteriorly onto suborbital shelf below anterior half of orbit.


Reaches a total length of 37 cm.


Silvery over sides of head, ventral half of trunk and midlaterally on tail, chest dark, belly pale; a narrow tapering dark stripe extends from below origin of second dorsal to end of tail, stripe expanded anteriorly; blotchy or spotty markings present dorsally on nape and trunk; an elongate horizontal blotch present behind occipital region in most; side of abdomen peppered with with large dots becoming sparser ventrally. Second spinous ray of first dorsal fin blackish over distal three-quarters; anal fin darkish anteriorly, otherwise light dusky to clear; pelvic fin base dark and along outer ray, pale in middle; gill membrane with finely striated or reticulated pattern, upper jaw and lips densely pigmented, barbel dark to dusky.


Carnivorous on small crustaceans and polychaete worms.




The Silver Whiptail is occasionally caught by commercial trawlers working in relatively shallow waters, but is of no interest to commercial fisheries.


Not evaluated.

Species Citation

Coelorhynchus argentatus Smith & Radcliffe 1912, Proc.U.S. Natl. Mus. 43(1924): 137, pl. 31(1), off Jolo, Philippines, 6°03 'S, 120°35 'E.


Bray, D.J. & G. Frankham

Silver Whiptail, Coelorinchus argentatus Smith & Radcliffe 1912


Merrett, N.R. & T. Iwamoto. 2000. Pisces Gadiformes: Grenadier fishes of the New Caledonian region, southwest Pacific Ocean. Taxonomy and distribution, with ecological notes. In: Crosnier, R. (ed). Résultats des Campagnes MUSORSTOM, v. 21. Memoires du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (N. S.) (Série A) Zoologie No. 184: 723-781.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37232021


Depth:250-490 m



Max Size:370

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