The redbait, bonnetmouth or southern rover, Emmelichthys nitidus nitidus, is a rover of the genus Emmelichthys, found at midwater over the outer continental shelf off South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the south west Pacific, at depths of between 100 and 500 m. Its length is up to 50 cm.

The redbait is a round bodied elongate fish with a pointed snout containing a large extensible mouth with flexible toothless jaws ideal for gulping down planktonic animals. The dorsal fin is divided into two parts, with four short separate spines between them.

Body colour is silver with blue tints on the back and a broad pink stripe on the head and flanks. The fins are pink and the caudal fin is pink-red.

The redbait is often found swimming with pilchards.


  • Tony Ayling & Geoffrey Cox, Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand, (William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand 1982) ISBN 0-00-216987-8
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