Harlequin Fish, Othos dentex Click to enlarge image
A Harlequin Fish at a depth of 4m, Cape Naturaliste, Western Australia, June 2009. Image: Sascha Schulz
© Sascha Schulz

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    dentex
    Genus
    Othos
    Family
    Serranidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to at least 76 cm in length.

Introduction

The Harlequin Fish has bright blue spots on the head and upper sides. The species is only known from southern Australian waters.

Identification

The Harlequin Fish has a relatively slender elongate body. Its background colour can be red, orange, yellow or brown. It has bright blue spots on the head and upper sides. There is a large red blotch on the side that is covered by the pectoral fin.

This species looks similar to the tropical Coral Trouts but can be separated by the large yellow to greenish spots on the lower sides.

Habitat

The species occurs on rocky reefs in inshore waters.

Distribution

The Harlequin Fish is endemic to Australia, occurring from the central coast of Victoria 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.



References

  1. 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.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 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. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.