Animal Species:Gulf Gurnard Perch, Neosebastes bougainvillii (Cuvier, 1829)

The Gulf Gurnard Perch has a 'hump-backed' appearance. The species only occurs in marine waters of South Australia and Western Australia.

Gulf Gurnard Perch on wreck of the HMAS Swan

Gulf Gurnard Perch on wreck of the HMAS Swan
Photographer: Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Gulf Gurnard Perch

Alternative Name/s

Gulf Gurnard Scorpionfish, Gulf Perch


The Gulf Gurnard Perch has a 'hump-backed' appearance, with the head profile rising steeply behind the eyes. It has large pectoral fins and two spines on the upper operculum. The long dorsal fin spines are separated by deeply incised membranes.

It is pale pinkish, red or brown usually with a large dark blotch on the body above the pectoral fin that extends into the spinous portion of the dorsal fin. There are smaller dark blotches posteriorly on the body and fins and often orange spots on the belly.

There are numerous spines and ridges on the head, which are important characters for distinguishing the Gulf Gurnard Perch from the eight other species of Neosebastes that occur in Australian waters. Other useful characters to help distinguish this species are the absence of a large black blotch on the soft rayed portion of the dorsal fin and the absence of dense black spots on the sides of the body.

It has been listed in many texts as N. panticus. Motomura (2004) stated that N. panticus is a junior synonym of N. bougainvillii.

Size range

It grows to about 30 cm in length.


It is endemic to Australia, occurring in temperate marine waters from eastern South Australia 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.

Neosebastes bougainvillii

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Gulf Gurnard Perch in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?


It is a benthic species that occurs on rocky reefs most commonly below 50 m in depth.



What does this mean?


  1. 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.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Motomura, H. 2004. Revision of the scorprionfish genus Neosebastes (Scorpaeniformes: Neosebastidae), with descriptions of five new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes. 37: 1-76, pl. 1-2.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Gulf Gurnard Perch, Neosebastes bougainvillii, Neosebastidae, pink, brown, black, 'normal fish', 10 cm - 30 cm, blotches, rocky reef, marine, adult,