Animal Species:Rainbow Cale, Heteroscarus acroptilus (Richardson, 1846)

Rainbow Cales are usually seen on weed-covered rocky reefs.  The species occurs in temperate waters around the southern half of Australia.

Standard Common Name

Rainbow Cale

Alternative Name/s

Marine Rainbowfish

Identification

Adult male Rainbow Cale can be recognised by the elongate first dorsal fin spines and distinctive colouration. They have blue lines on the head and dark blotches on the sides of the body.

Females and juveniles are yellow or green to reddish-brown with dark markings on the sides of the body.

The Rainbow Cale is a member of the subfamily Ocacinae. 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 30 cm in length.

Distribution

It is recorded from the central coast of New South Wales, around the temperate south of the country and north to the central coast of Western Australia.

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.

Heteroscarus acroptilus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Rainbow Cale specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The Rainbow Cale occurs in kelp beds from a few metres in depth down to around 25 m.

Classification

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

What does this mean?

References

  1. Gomon, M.F., Bray, D. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 2008. The Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Reed New Holland. Pp. 928.
  2. Gomon, M.F. & J.R. Paxton. 1985. A revision of the Odacidae, a temperate Australian-New Zealand labroid fish family. Indo-Pacific Fishes. 8: 1-57.
  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. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Rainbow Cale, Heteroscarus acroptilus, movies, Labridae, Odacidae, Odacinae, green, yellow, white, black, blue, odd-shaped, 10 cm - 30 cm, blotches/mottled, kelp/algae/seagrass, marine, adult, 30 cm - 1 m,