Surveys of ocean canyons off the South Australian coast

Latchet, _Pterygotrigla polyommata_

The Latchet, Pterygotrigla polyommata, is a common species in South Australia on sandy or muddy bottoms at depths of 30–300 m. Image: Ruan Gannon.

In 2008, the Museum’s Ichthyology Section took part in a voyage by the Australian Government’s Southern Surveyor research vessel to survey the biodiversity of two ocean canyons off the South Australian coast.

The trawls in Bonney Canyon near Robe and the De Coeudic Canyon, off Kangaroo Island, reached depths of 2010 m and resulted in hundreds of fish specimens, among them many deep sea species. Representative specimens from each trawl were tissue sampled and the bodies preserved for the Museum’s Ichthyology Collection.

These specimens are still being sorted and registered and a selection will eventually be DNA barcoded. The resulting genetic profiles will contribute to the Fish Barcode of Life Initiative (FISH-BOL), a global effort to coordinate a standardised reference sequence library for all fish species, based on voucher specimens with authoritative taxonomic identifications.

This research was funded by a grant of $8000 from the Sir Mark Mitchell Trust.


Black Lizardfish, Bathysauropsis gracilis

Black Lizardfish, Bathysauropsis gracilis, taken from 2000 m in the Bonney Canyon. This is the first record of this species from southern Australia.

Southern SurveyorThe Southern Surveyor being prepared for the voyage.


Here ...A Banded Bellowsfish, Centriscops humerosus.


SlickheadsA haul of Slickheads, Rouleina species.


Black DragonfishHead of a Black Dragonfish, Idiacanthus atlanticus.