Animal Species:Herring Cale, Odax cyanomelas (Richardson, 1850)

The Herring Cale is a member of the fish family Odacidae. One of the distinguishing features of odacid fishes is that the teeth in both jaws are fused into a parrot-like beak with serrated edges.

Male Herring Cale

Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Herring Cale

Identification

The Herring Cale can be recognised by its colouration, which varies as the fish grows. Juveniles are typically grey or greenish brown above and yellow below. They have an incomplete silvery-white stripe on the side of the body.

Initial phase Herring Cale are usually darker green to brown above and green-yellow below. They have bluish lines on the head and sometimes lines and blotches on the fins. Terminal phase Herring Cale are blue, grey or black with bright blue lines along the upper and lower edges of the caudal fin.

The Herring Cale is a member of the fish family Odacidae. One of the distinguishing features of odacid fishes is that the teeth in both jaws are fused into a parrot-like beak with serrated edges.

Size range

The species grows to 51 cm in length.

Distribution

The Herring Cale is endemic to Australia. It is known from the central coast of Western Australia, around the temperate south of the country, including Tasmania, and up the east coast to southern Queensland.

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

Odax cyanomelas

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Herring Cale specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The Herring Cale can form large aggregations. It is most commonly seen in the surge zone of rocky intertidal areas, often in areas covered with brown macroalgae. It is found from the intertidal to around 30 m.

Feeding and Diet

It is a herbivorous species. The main food items are large brown algae, including Ecklonia radiata, Phyllospora comosa and Lessonia corrugata.

Classification

Species:
cyanomelas
Genus:
Odax
Family:
Odacidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. Gomon, M. F. & J. R. Paxton 1985. A Revision of the Odacidae, A temperate Australian-New Zealand Labroid fish family. Indo-Pacific. Fishes No. 8: 1-57, Pls. I-VI.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 469.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Herring Cale, Odax cyanomelas, Odacidae, Labridae, blue, green, yellow, long and skinny, 30 cm - 1 m, countershaded, intertidal, marine, adult,