This unusual fish, seemingly without eyes, is the first specimen of Typhlonus nasus recorded in Australian waters. It came from a depth of around 4000 metres in the Jervis Commonwealth Marine Reserve during the RV Investigator voyage IN2017_V03 to survey life on the abyssal plain off eastern Australia. During the voyage, four Faceless Cusks were collected from the bottom of the deep sea between Jervis Bay and Byron Bay.

Little is known about this strange fish "without a face", however it does have eyes buried deep within the skin. Although rare, the species is quite widely distributed, and has been recorded from the Arabian Sea, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Japan and Hawaii at depths between 4000-5000 metres.

Interestingly, the first specimens of Typhlonus nasus were first collected in 1874 during the four-year voyage of HMS Challenger, the world's first round the world oceanographic expedition. One of the type specimens came from a depth of 2440 fathoms (~4390 m) in the Coral Sea just outside what is now Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone.

Specimen Details

  • Taxon Name

    Typhlonus nasus

  • Author and date of publication

    Günther, 1878

  • Preferred Common name

    Faceless Cusk

  • Other Common Names

    Faceless Cusk Eel, Faceless Fish

  • Date Identified


  • Identified By

    John Pogonoski - Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO

  • Number Of Specimens


  • Stage Or Age


  • Specimen Nature

    Nature: Tissue, Form: frozen, Fixative treatment: ethanol 96%, Medium: ethanol 96%

  • Tissue Details

    Type: Muscle, Preservative: ethanol 96%, Storage temperature: -196°C; Storage temperature: -196°C

  • Tissue sampled from

    Museums Victoria specimen A 31815.1

  • Expedition Name

    IN2017_V03 - Sampling the Abyss

  • Collected By

    O'Hara et. al IN2017 V03 abyss Marine Invertebrates Team

  • Collection Event Code

    IN2017 V03 053

  • Sampling Method

    Beam Trawl - CSIRO Four Metre

  • Date Visited From

    28/05/2017 11:42 AM

  • Date Visited To

    28/05/2017 1:13 PM

  • Depth To (m)


  • Depth From (m)


  • Category

    Natural Sciences

  • Scientific Group

    Vertebrate Zoology

  • Discipline

    DNA Laboratory

  • Collecting Areas

    Tissue and DNA

  • Type of Item



Geospatial Information

  • Site Code

    IN2017 V03 053

  • Country


  • State

    New South Wales

  • Precise Location

    Jervis CMR

  • Latitude


  • Longitude


  • Geodetic Datum


  • Georeference Protocol

    data provided with specimen(s)

  • Georeference Date


  • Georeference By

    Dr Alan Williams - CSIRO