Animal Species:Crested Morwong, Cheilodactylus vestitus (Castelnau, 1878)
It occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters of the Western Pacific, usually seen on shallow, sheltered coastal and estuarine reefs.
A Crested Morwong at Fly Point Marine Reserve
Photographer: David & Leanne Atkinson © David & Leanne Atkinson
Standard Common Name
The Crested Morwong can be recognised by the dark stripe, which crosses from the spiny part of the dorsal fin to the lower lobe of the caudal fin. There are pairs of knob-like protrusions in front of the eyes and above the upper lip. The dorsal fin is tall anteriorly, then decreases in height over the next four spines, with the rest of the fin being long-based and low.
The Crested Morwong grows to about 35 cm in length.
A similar-looking species, the Magpie Morwong, Cheilodactylus gibbosus, occurs in Western Australia.
It occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters of the Western Pacific.
In Australia it is known from southern Queensland to the central coast 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.
Distribution by collection data
It is usually seen on shallow, sheltered coastal and estuarine reefs.
Feeding and Diet
Other behaviours and adaptations
Mating and reproduction
Predators, Parasites and Diseases
Danger to humans and first aid
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology