Goblin Fish – Glyptauchen panduratus.

Goblin Fish:  Rarely seen,  the Goblin Fish is one nasty customer. It is a close relation of the Stonefish and is very venomous. The fish has a row of 17 spines along its back, which are closely webbed. Get stung by one of these you may suffer shock and even collapse. Also known as the saddlehead.
They live in sand and mud in waters 3m to 50m deep. They grow to about 20cm and are found in Tas, SA, NSW and Southern WA and VIC.


  1. in my “mis-spent youth” i have done quite a few trips on SA’s Spencer Gulf Prawn Trawlers. one of the unwelcomed fish caught in the by-catch is something extremely similar to the Goblin Fish but much smaller. known by the fishermen as ‘Happy Moments’ these spikey little devils pierce the skin upon inadvertent handling and provide 4-8hrs of excrutiating pain/tingling/numbness and throbbing – not at all helpful on the deck of a prawn trawler in the middle of the night.

    1. Peter,
      Will see if I can find out what it may be and post it in a future FFT.

  2. Is it just me, or are all venomous fish also gobsmackingly ugly? How did they manage to find an aesthetic that is so alarming to humans?

    1. Yeah – you kind of know they are not going to be good for you. Part of their defense. If they looked good like, say, a trout – we would eat them.

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