Estuary Cobbler Click to enlarge image
An Estuary Cobbler at a depth of 2.4 m, Red Rock Estuary, New South Wales, January 2002. Image: Ian Shaw
© Ian Shaw

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    macrocephalus
    Genus
    Cnidoglanis
    Family
    Plotosidae
    Order
    Siluriformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to around 60 cm in length.

Introduction

Estuary Cobblers have dorsal and pectoral fins with an embedded spine. These serrated spines are poisonous and the puncture wounds can be very painful. Skulls of this species are sometimes found washed up on beaches.



Identification

The Estuary Cobbler is has mottled brown and yellow colour pattern. Ithas a large flattened head and a body that tapers to a pointed tail. The dorsal, caudal and anal fins are continuous. The dorsal and pectoral fins each have an embedded, serrated spine. These spines are poisonous. The species has a relatively small mouth that is surrounded by four pairs of barbels. A fifth pair of barbels is present above the snout.



Habitat

The species is usually found in estuaries and silty bays. The video below was taken in the breaker zone at a sandy beach.



Distribution

It occurs in temperate marine waters from southern Queensland to southern 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.



Breeding behaviours

Adult males guard newly hatched larvae between the pelvic fins.

Danger to humans

The dorsal and pectoral fins each have an embedded spine. These serrated spines are venomous. Puncture wounds from an Estuary Cobbler spine can be very painful.

References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  6. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  7. Neira, F.J., Miskiewicz, A.G. and Trnski, T. 1998 Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: Laboratory guide for larval fish identification. University Western Australia Press. Pp. 474.