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Branchiostegus japonicus

(Japanese Horsehead Fish)


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Family : Tilefishes ; Found in the sublittoral zone on sandy mud bottoms [1]. Most common of Japanese tilefishes[2].

Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Cantonese:

Ma Tau

Common Names in Chinese:

Ma Tau, 日本馬頭魚

Common Names in Danish:

Rød Teglfisk

Common Names in English:

Japanese Horsehead Fish, Horse head, Horse head fish, Horse-head fish, Horsehead, Horsehead tilefish, Red horsehead, Red Tilefish

Common Names in Japanese:

Aka ama dai, Aka amadai, Aka-Ama-Dai, Aka-Amadai

Common Names in Korean:

Ok tom, Ok-Tom, 옥돔

Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:

Fang T, Fāng Tóu Yú, Rì Běn Fāng Tóu Yú, 日本方头鱼, 日本方頭魚, 日本馬頭魚, 日本马头鱼, 馬頭, 马头

Common Names in Spanish:


Common Names in Spanish, Castilian:


Common Names in Vietnamese:

Cá d?u vuông Nh?t b?n, Cá Ð?u vuông


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Physical Description

Species Branchiostegus japonicus

Males are commonly 35 cm (Total Length) in length when caught/marketed, but may be as large as 46 cm (Total Length).


May be found at depths of 30 to 200 meters.

Typically found in water with a depth of 0 to -1,479 meters (0 to -4,852 feet).[3]

Ecology: Branchiostegus japonicus occurs in the sublittoral zone over sandy-muddy, or shell-sand-mud substrates and has a depth range of 30 - 265 m but is commonly caught at depths of 80 - 200 m (Dooley 1999). This species inhabits a burrow that is constructed in the sea bottom , by digging into the sand and mud . Branchiostegus japonicus has been observed to show site fidelity , and use burrows to escape predators and for resting at night (Mitamura et al. 2005).

There is sexual dimorphism and potentially protogynous hermaphroditism (J. Dooley pers.comm. 2009). There are also sexual differences in distributions with males typically occupying greater depths (Yamashita 2007).[4].

List of Habitats :


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Brachiostegus japonicusBrachiostegus japonicus (Houttuyn • Branchiostegus argentatus (Cuvier • Coryphaena branchiostegaCoryphaena branchiostega Linnaeus • Coryphaena japonicaCoryphaena japonica Houttuyn • Coryphaenoides houttuyniiCoryphaenoides houttuynii Lacepède • Latilus japonicusLatilus japonicus (Houttuyn • Latilus ruberLatilus ruber Kishinouye


Name Status: Accepted Name .

First described: Houttuyn, M. Het onderscheid der salamanderen van de haagdissen in 't algemeen, en van de gekkos in 't byzonder aangetoond. Venhandelingen Uitgegeven door het Zeeuwsch Genootschap der Wetenschappen te Vlissingen, ser. 1 , 9: 305-336., 1782.

Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 05-Oct-1995

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Branchiostegus

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 12 species and subspecies in this genus:

B. albus (White Horsehead) · B. argentatus (Silver Horsehead) · B. auratus (Tilefish) · B. australiensis (Australian Tilefish) · B. doliatus (Ribbed Tilefish) · B. hedlandensis (Port Hedland Tilefish) · B. japonicus (Japanese Horsehead Fish) · B. paxtoni (Paxton's Tilefish) · B. sawakinensis (Freckled Tilefish) · B. semifasciatus (Zebra Tilefish) · B. serratus (Australian Barred Tilefish) · B. wardi (Ward´s Sleeper)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 15, 2007:



  1. Yamada, U., S. Shirai, T. Irie, M. Tokimura, S. Deng, Y. Zheng, C. Li, Y.U. Kim and Y.S. Kim (1995). Names and Illustrations of Fishes from the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea. Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation, Tokyo, Japan. [back]
  2. Masuda, H., K. Amaoka, C. Araga, T. Uyeno and T. Yoshino (1984). The fishes of the Japanese Archipelago. Vol. 1 (text). Tokai University Press, Tokyo, Japan. 437 p. (text), 370 pls. [back]
  3. Mean = -145.380 meters (-476.969 feet), Standard Deviation = 660.120 based on 34 observations. Ocean depth information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
  4. Dooley, J., Matsuura, K., Collette, B., Nelson, J., Fritzsche, R. & Carpenter, K. 2010. Branchiostegus japonicus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on 30 January 2012. [back]
Last Revised: 2015-02-06