Common Gurnard Perch, Neosebastes scorpaenoides Click to enlarge image
A Common Gurnard Perch at a depth of 7m, Mornington Pier, Victoria, March 2007. Image: S. Schulz
© S. Schulz

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    scorpaenoides
    Genus
    Neosebastes
    Family
    Neosebastidae
    Order
    Scorpaeniformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 35 cm.

Introduction

The Common Gurnard Perch is brownish or reddish, mottled with indistinct blackish blotches. It is endemic to Australia, occurring from southern New South Wales to South Australia.

Identification

The Common Gurnard Perch has a relatively elongate body and short snout. The body is brownish or reddish, mottled with indistinct blackish blotches. The inside surface of the pectoral fin is white, with a broad vertical black band and numerous small orange spots.

This species can be distinguished from all members of Neosebastes occurring in southern half of Australia by having numerous tiny pores on the underside of the mandible versus three distinct pores on each side (see image). It differs from all members of Neosebastes occurring in the northern half of Australia, New Caledonia and East Asia by having 72-103 scales in longitudinal series along the side of the body (versus 47-63).


Common Gurnard Perch, Neosebastes scorpaenoides
Ventral view of mandibles, showing the three distinct pores (left) on each side present in other southern Australian Neosebastes, and numerous tiny pores (right) of the Common Gurnard Perch, Neosebastes scorpaenoides. Image: Hiroyuki Motomura
© Hiroyuki Motomura

Habitat

It occurs at depths between 5 m and 140 m, although young fish generally occur in shallower water than adults.

Distribution

The Common Gurnard Perch is endemic to Australia, occurring from southern New South Wales to South Australia.

It is abundant in the vicinity of Tasmania (especially Bass Strait), but it appears to be rare in the Great Australian Bight.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



References

  1. Motomura, H. 2004. Revision of the scorpionfish genus Neosebastes(Scorpaeniformes: Neosebastidae), with descriptions of five new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes. 37: 1-76, pl. 1-2.