Why is ‘Rare Pink Handfish’ seen in the news?

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of Australia, recently spotted a rare pink handfish near Tasmanian coast, after 22 years. The fish was last spotted in 1999.


  • The Australian marine researchers used an underwater camera inside the seabed in Tasman Fracture Marine Park, in February 2021. While going through the footage later, they spotted the pink handfish.
  • The Taman Fracture Marine Park is known for its deep fracture inside the earth’s crust, allowing scientists to explore marine life up to the depths of 4,000 meters.
  • Earlier, it was assumed that, pink handfish lives in shallow waters. However, this time it was found at the depth of 150 meters.

About Handfish

  • Handfish are any anglerfish, belonging to the family Brachionichthyidae. This family is a group of five genera and 14 extant species.
  • These benthic marine fish are known for the way they propel themselves by walking on sea floor rather than swimming.
  • Presently, Handfish are found in the coastal waters of southern and eastern Australia and Tasmania.
  • They are scientifically called as Latin brachium.

Why has the species named handfish?

The species has been named ‘handfish’ because of their little hand like structure, which they use to walk on the sea bed.

Population of Handfishes

Handfishes have small population sizes and their distributions are restricted. Thus, they are highly vulnerable to disturbance. Some species are classified as critically endangered.

Characteristics of Handfish

Handfishes grow up to 15 cm long. They have skin covered with denticles, which give then an alternate name ‘warty anglers’. They are slow-moving fish.




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