Animal Species:Smallhead Sole, Soleichthys microcephalus (Günther, 1862)

The Smallhead Sole is known only from harbours and estuaries of New South Wales, it is grey-green to brown with dark bands, and has a blue and black margin to the fins. The juvenile colour pattern mimics a species of flatworm.

A Smallhead Sole at Camp Cove

Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Smallhead Sole

Alternative Name/s

Small-head Sole, Small-headed Sole

Identification

The Smallhead Sole can be recognised by its distinctive colouration. It is grey-green to brown with dark bands, and has a blue and black margin to the fins. It has papillae on the snout, raised eyes, and nostrils on the tip of a long tube.

Juvenile Smallhead Sole differ in colour from the adults. They are white with a black and orange margin. This colour pattern mimics a species of flatworm.

Size range

The species grows to 22 cm in length.

Distribution

The Smallhead Sole is only known from harbours and estuaries of 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.

Soleichthys microcephalus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Smallhead Sole specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The species occurs in depths from 3 m to 20 m.

Classification

Species:
microcephalus
Genus:
Soleichthys
Family:
Soleidae
Order:
Pleuronectiformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437. (as Aesopia microcephala)
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433. (as Aesopia microcephala)


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fish, ichthyology, Soleichthys microcephalus, sandy bottom, Smallhead Sole, Soleidae, grey green, brown, blue, black, flatfish, 10 cm - 30 cm, stripes or bands, white, orange, harbours, estuaries, nostrils, raised eyes,