Animal Species:Fortescue, Centropogon australis (White, 1790)
The Fortescue has a brown to white body with dark brown to black bars. It has two large spines on either side of the head that can be projected sideways when the fish is disturbed. The first dorsal fin has 16 strong spines that are capable of inflicting a very painful sting.
Standard Common Name
The Fortescue has a brown to white body with dark brown to black bars. It has two large spines on either side of the head that can be projected sideways when the fish is disturbed.
The species grows to 14 cm in length.
The Fortescue looks similar to the Soldier. Click on the link to the Soldier fact sheet on the right to find out how to tell them apart.
The Fortescue is endemic to Australia. It occurs in temperate marine waters from southern Queensland to eastern Victoria.
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 in estuaries and bays to a depth of 30 m.
Other behaviours and adaptations
Divers often see Fortescues, sometimes in large numbers, resting motionless on the bottom.
Danger to humans and first aid
The16 strong dorsal fin spines are capable of inflicting a very painful sting. The pain of the sting can be eased by immersion in hot (not scalding!) water.
- Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
- 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.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
- Poss, S.G. 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.
- Underhill, D. 2010. Australia's Dangerous Creatures. Reader's Digest. Pp. 368.
Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow
Tags fishes, ichthyology, Fortescue, Centropogon australis, Scorpaenidae, Tetrarogidae, 10 cm - 30 cm, white, brown bars, black bars, stripes or bands, endemic to Australia, temperate water, marine, estuaries, bays, painful sting,