SPECIES: Thymichthys politus — Red Handfish

CLASSIFICATION: Critically endangered

The Red Handfish is a rare species of anglerfish endemic to Tasmania’s eastern coast, and it’s likely there’s no more than 100 left on the planet. Usually no more than 10cm in length, their body is covered in tiny spines and this particular species varies in colour from bright-red to light pink/brown, unique, just like a fingerprint. Rather than swim, this fish has adapted pectoral fins that resemble hands, so it actually walks along the ocean floor. Infamously, the Red Handfish finds itself listed as critically endangered both nationally on the EPBC and internationally on the IUCN.

At FAME, we’re passionate about saving our native, smaller, lesser-known species that, without intervention, would otherwise be left to face extinction. Each and every one of our native Australian species contributes to the rich biodiversity on the continent. To lose just one of these species to extinction disrupts the balance of the ecosystem.

Working with landholders, volunteer and regional partners, the project aims to undertake collaborative searches, workshops and translocations, leading to new and increased population numbers whilst maintaining genetic diversity. To find out more about this important project and to make a donation, visit

Photo: Tyson Bessell

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