Red handfish are small, slow moving benthic fish that are mostly red in colour. The species grows to at least 136 mm total length and has a relatively elongate and moderately compressed body that tapers towards the tail. The skin is covered in small, close-set, flattened warts. Unlike the spotted handfish, most scales and the associated spines of this species are fully embedded in the skin. There are two primary colour morphs, both dominated by reddish tones. One morph is a uniform vivid red over the body and fin bases with the outer parts of the fins bluish and white; the second morph is a less strikingly mottled pink with extensive reddish patches and spots over the body and (usually) also the fins.
Red Handfish |
Status: Critically Endangered on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
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Australian Government, Listing Advice, Thymichthys politus
An increase in water temperatures from natural or anthropomorphic sources (e.g. climate change) is also a potential threat (Gledhill and Green; unpublished).