Animal Species:Cockatoo Waspfish, Ablabys taenianotus (Cuvier, 1829)

The Cockatoo Waspfish is usually observed at dusk and on night dives as they stay hidden during daylight hours.They are usually observed on sand in the vacinity of rocky reefs and sea grass beds feeding on small shrimps and other crustaceans.

A Cockatoo Waspfish, Ablabys taenianotus

Ian Banks © Ian Banks

Standard Common Name

Cockatoo Waspfish

Alternative Name/s

The Cockatoo Waspfish has also been called the Cockatoo Fish and Leaf Fish.

Identification

The Cockatoo Waspfish can be recognised by its long sail-like dorsal fin which originates above the eyes.

The fish is usually brown with a distinct white stripe along the leading edge of the dorsal fin and down the snout to the upper jaw. Adults may have a scribbled pattern of dark lines and blotches on the dorsal fin.

Size range

The Cockatoo Waspfish grows to 15 cm in length.

Distribution

The species occurs in tropical and some temperate waters of the Eastern Indian and Western Pacific Oceans.

In Australia it is known from the central coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country and south to the New South Wales central coast.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Ablabys taenianotus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Cockatoo Waspfish specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

It is a benthic species that is found on coral reefs and in sheltered estuaries and bays down to depths of about 20 m.

Danger to humans and first aid

Even though they are quite small in size, the species is sonsidered dangerous to humans to to their venomous spines.

Classification

Species:
taenianotus
Genus:
Ablabys
Family:
Scorpaenidae
Order:
Scorpaeniformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  2. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.

 


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fish, ichthyology, Cockatoo Waspfish, Ablabys taenianotus, weed, seaweed, seagrass, kelp, ecklonia, Cockatoo Fish, Leaf Fish, sail-like dorsal fin, brown, white stripe, stripes or bands, blotches/mottled, 10 cm - 30 cm, tropical water, temperate water, benthic, coral reef, sheltered estuaries, dangerous, venomous,