Animal Species:Little Weed Whiting, Neoodax balteatus (Valenciennes, 1840)

The Little Weed Whiting can be recognised by its colouration, which varies as the fish grows. The species occurs in large aggregations in seagrass beds or as individuals or pairs on rocky reefs.

Little Weed Whiting at Shiprock

Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Little Weed Whiting

Alternative Name/s

Ground Mullet, Little Rock Whiting

Identification

The Little Weed Whiting can be recognised by its colouration, which varies as the fish grows. Juvenile or initial phase fish are typically greenish brown above and whitish below, with a dark stripe along the midline. Terminal phase Little Weed Whiting have a blueish-grey to green body. The head has yellow to red and blue wavy lines that extend onto the body in larger specimens. The fins are white or blue with wavy red lines.

The species is a member of the subfamily Odacinae. 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 16 cm in length.

Distribution

Little Weed Whiting are endemic to Australia. The species is known from the central coast of Western Australia, around the southern coast of the country, including the Tasmanian coastline and up the east coast to northern New South Wales.

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.

Neoodax balteatus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Little Weed Whiting specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The Little Weed Whiting occurs in large aggregations in seagrass beds or individuals or pairs on rocky reefs. It is found in water only a few metres deep, down to about 20 m in depth.

Classification

Species:
balteatus
Genus:
Neoodax
Subfamily:
Odacinae
Family:
Labridae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Gomon, M.F. in Gomon, M.F, Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  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, Little Weed Whiting, Neoodax balteatus, Labridae, Odacinae, silver, gold, white, black, yellow, green, 'normal fish', 10 cm - 30 cm, kelp/algae/seagrass, rocky reef, countershaded, marine, adult,