Ompax spatuloides

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Contemporary drawing of the hoax "fish" Ompax spatuloides by Karl Theodor Staiger, director of the Brisbane Museum, Australia, drawn from the cooked fish, and sent to Francis de Laporte de Castelnau in 1879, who went on to give the "species" a scientific description.

Ompax spatuloides was a hoax fish "discovered" in Australia in August, 1872. Said to be poisonous, it could be found on some lists of Australian fishes through the 1930s.

The fish was a joke perpetrated by people at Gayndah station, Queensland, who prepared it from the body of a mullet, the tail of an eel and the head of a platypus or needlefish. They served it cooked for Karl Theodor Staiger, the director of the Brisbane Museum, and he forwarded a sketch and description of the fake to expert Francis de Laporte de Castelnau, who described the supposed "species" in 1879.[1][2]


  1. ^ "A Mythical Fish.". The Advocate. Burnie, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 17 January 1934. p. 5. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  2. ^ Luck, Geoffrey (23 August 2014). "The Fishiest Fish". Quadrant Online (July-August). 


  • Australian Sporting Records (1998): 117. Bantam Books.
  • Castelnau, François Louis de la Porte, comte de (1879): On a New Ganoïd Fish from Queensland. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 3(1): 164-165, plate XIXa.
  • Whitley, Gilbert P. (1933): Ompax spatuloides Castelnau, a mythical Australian fish. Am. Nat. 67(713): 563-567. First page image