Animal Species:Spiny Gurnard, Lepidotrigla papilio (Cuvier, 1829)
The Spiny Gurnard has an ocellus on the first dorsal fin and three detached and thickened lower pectoral fin rays. The species is endemic to Australia.
Standard Common Name
Butterfly Gurnard, Eastern Spiny Gurnard, Southern Spiny Gurnard
The Spiny Gurnard has a an ocellus on the first dorsal fin and three detached and thickened lower pectoral fin rays. Enlarged spiny scales run along the lateral line and along the bases of the two dorsal fins.
The species grows to 20 cm in length.
The Spiny Gurnard is endemic to Australia. It occurs in southern temperate marine waters from central New South Wales to south-western Western Australia.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
It lives mostly in sand and rubble areas in estuaries and coastal reefs.
Other behaviours and adaptations
When disturbed, the species often spreads its blue-margined pectoral fins. This behaviour is likely to startle potential predators.
Divers regularly see this species 'walking' along the bottom raised on the three detached lower rays of both pectoral fins. Click on the link in rling's comment (17 August 2010) below to watch a short video.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. (as Lepidotrigla pleuracanthica).
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437. (as Lepidotrigla pleuracanthica).
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology