Animal Species:Spotted Scat, Scatophagus argus (Linnaeus, 1766)

The Spotted Scat is greenish, brown or silvery to golden on the sides with brown to reddish-brown spots. The species lives in freshwater, inshore and estuarine waters, often in mangrove areas.

Standard Common Name

Spotted Scat

Alternative Name/s

Butterfish, Mia Mia, Spotted Butterfish, Tiger Butterfish, Tiger Scat

Identification

The Spotted Scat is a deep bodied compressed species. It is greenish, brown or silvery to golden on the sides with brown to reddish-brown spots. Juveniles are often darker, often with alternating light and dark bars.

Size range

The species grows to about 33 cm in length.

Distribution

It occurs in tropical and some warm temperate waters of the Indo-west and Central Pacific. In Australia it is known from north-western Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country and south to the central New South Wales coast.

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.

Scatophagus argus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Spotted Scat specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The Spotted Scat lives in freshwater, inshore and estuarine waters, often in mangrove areas.

Economic/social impacts

Merrick (1984) states that "Large specimens are reported to be fair eating, but should be cleaned immediately after capture to avoid deterioration."

Danger to humans and first aid

This fish should be handled with care because the dorsal fin spines can inflict painful wounds.  Poison glands are present at the bases of the spines of both juveniles and adults.

Classification

Species:
argus
Genus:
Scatophagus
Family:
Scatophagidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & M. Allen. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 394.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  3. Merrick, J.R. & G.E. Schmida. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes. Biology and Management. John R. Merrick. Pp. 409.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Spotted Scat, Scatophagus argus, Scatophagidae, green, brown, silver, deep-bodid, 30 cm - 1 m, dots/spots, pelagic, marine, adult,