Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    scabriceps
    Genus
    Maxillicosta
    Family
    Neosebastidae
    Order
    Scorpaeniformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 12 cm.

Introduction

The Little Gurnard Perch has a mottled brownish body. It is common in southern Australian inshore waters, usually in seagrass beds, rubbly areas or on sandy substrates.

Identification

When alive, the Little Gurnard Perch has a mottled brownish body. There is a large black blotch on dorsal fin membrane between the fifth and ninth spines in both males and females. The colour pattern is similar to that of Whitley's Gurnard Perch and Southern Gurnard Perch.

The species can be distinguished from other Australian species of Maxillicosta by the combination of two characters. The scales above the lateral line behind the head lack a strong median ridge or a serrated ridge. The nasal spine has 2 or 3 small points.

Although several specimens, collected from central Western Australia, have been identified as M. scabriceps, they may represent a new species and M. scabriceps may only occur between Victoria and southeastern Western Australia.

Habitat

It is usually found in seagrass beds, rubbly areas or on sandy substrates at depths from 2 m to 45 m.

Distribution

The species is endemic to Australia, occuring in inshore waters from Victoria to central Western Australia, including northern Tasmania.
 

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

Maxillicosta scabriceps

Ozcam map of Little Gurnard Perch in the Australian Museums. http://ozcam.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=Maxillicosta%20scabriceps&zoom=off#mapView

Other behaviours and adaptations

Individuals bury completely in the sand during the day, but emerge at night.

References

  1. Eschmeyer, W.N. and S.G. Poss. 1976. Review of the scorpionfish genus Maxillicosta (Pisces: Scorpaenidae), with a description of three new species from the Australian-New Zealand region. Bulletin of Marine Science. 26(4): 433-449.
  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.