Bluespotted Flathead, Platycephalus caeruleopunctatus Click to enlarge image
Bluespotted Flatheads caught on hook and line off Harrington, New South Wales, December 2001. Image: John Pogonoski
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    caeruleopunctatus
    Genus
    Platycephalus
    Family
    Platycephalidae
    Order
    Scorpaeniformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 68 cm in length.

Introduction

The temperate marine flatheads can be quite a challenge to identify. The Bluespotted Flathead usually has scattered blue spots on the back and a distinctive pattern of dark blotches on the tail.

Identification

The Bluespotted Flathead can be recognised by its sandy colour, scattered blue spots, and the series of elongated dark blotches on the tail. The blotches become progressively larger towards the bottom of the fin. The lower preopercular spine is distinctly longer than the upper.

Habitat

The Bluespotted Flathead is found on sandy bottoms from shallow coastal bays and estuaries to well offshore.

Distribution

The species is officially recorded from southern Queensland to eastern Victoria but may occur as far west as eastern South 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.



Feeding and diet

It eats crustaceans and other fishes.

Economic impacts

The Bluespotted Flathead is a commercial trawl species which is marketed in Australia under the name Blue-spotted Flathead.

References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. Gomon, M.F., Bray, D. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 2008. The Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Reed New Holland. Pp. 928.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  5. Tyler, J.C. 1970. Abnormal fin and vertebral growth structures in Plectognath fishes. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 122(4): 249-271.
  6. Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & R.D. Ward. 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook, an identification guide to domestic species. CSIRO Marine Research. Pp. 461.