Centropogon australis Click to enlarge image
A Fortescue at a depth of 16 m, Shiprock, Port Hacking, New South Wales. Image: E. Schlögl
© E. Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    australis
    Genus
    Centropogon
    Family
    Tetrarogidae
    Order
    Scorpaeniformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 14 cm in length.

Introduction

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.



Identification

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.

Habitat

It lives in estuaries and bays to a depth of 30 m.

Distribution

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.



Other behaviours and adaptations

Divers often see Fortescues, sometimes in large numbers, resting motionless on the bottom.

Danger to humans

The 16 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.

References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. 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.
  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. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  6. 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.
  7. Underhill, D. 2010. Australia's Dangerous Creatures. Reader's Digest. Pp. 368.