Animal Species:Eastern Wirrah, Acanthistius ocellatus (Günther, 1859)

The Eastern Wirrah is a yellow to green colour and is covered by small blue-centred spots. It is often caught by anglers but it is such a poor eating fish, it is often called the Old Boot.

Eastern Wirrah, Acanthistius ocellatus

Matt Dowse © Matt Dowse

Standard Common Name

Eastern Wirrah

Alternative Name/s

Old Boot

Identification

The Eastern Wirrah is a yellow to green colour and is covered by small blue-centred spots. It has a large mouth, three strong spines on the operculum and a round pupil. Juveniles are have a banded pattern.

Size range

The species grows to 45 cm in length.

Distribution

The species has been recorded from southern Queensland to eastern Victoria, Tasmania, and Lord Howe Island. It is common in New South Wales.

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

Acanthistius ocellatus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Eastern Wirrah specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The Eastern Wirrah is found in a range of habitats from shallow rocky reefs to at least 100 m depth. Juveniles are sometimes seen in rockpools, whereas the adults are usually observed in caves and under overhangs.

Economic/social impacts

It is often caught by anglers but it is such a poor eating fish, it is often called the Old Boot.

Classification

Species:
ocellatus
Genus:
Acanthistius
Family:
Serranidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  • Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180. 
  • Kuiter, R.H. in Gomon, M.F, C.J.M. Glover & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994.
  • The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  • Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  • Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Eastern Wirrah, Acanthistius ocellatus, Serranidae, yellow, green, dots/spots, Old Boot, large mouth, juveniles have banded pattern, 30 cm - 1 m, rocky reef, rockpool, caves,