Little Weed Whiting Click to enlarge image
An initial phase Little Weed Whiting at a depth of 6 m, Shiprock, Port Hacking, New South Wales, January 2002. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    balteatus
    Genus
    Neoodax
    Subfamily
    Odacinae
    Family
    Labridae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 16 cm in length.

Introduction

The Little Weed Whiting can be recognised by its colouration, which varies as the fish grows. The species occurs in large aggregations in seagrass beds or as individuals or pairs on rocky reefs.

Identification

The Little Weed Whiting can be recognised by its colouration, which varies as the fish grows. Juvenile or initial phase fish are typically greenish brown above and whitish below, with a dark stripe along the midline. Terminal phase Little Weed Whiting have a blueish-grey to green body. The head has yellow to red and blue wavy lines that extend onto the body in larger specimens. The fins are white or blue with wavy red lines.

The species is a member of the subfamily Odacinae. One of the distinguishing features of odacid fishes is that the teeth in both jaws are fused into a parrot-like beak with serrated edges.

Habitat

The Little Weed Whiting occurs in large aggregations in seagrass beds or individuals or pairs on rocky reefs. It is found in water only a few metres deep, down to about 20 m in depth.

Distribution

Little Weed Whiting are endemic to Australia. The species is known from the central coast of Western Australia, around the southern coast of the country, including the Tasmanian coastline and up the east coast to northern New South Wales.

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



References

  1. 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.
  2. Gomon, M. F. & J. R. Paxton 1985. A Revision of the Odacidae, A temperate Australian-New Zealand Labroid fish family. Indo-Pacific. Fishes No. 8: 1-57, Pls. I-VI.
  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. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 469.