Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    nigripes
    Genus
    Cheilodactylus
    Family
    Cheilodactylidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The Magpie Morwong grows to a length of over 40 cm

Introduction

The Magpie Perch isn't related to Magpies or to the true Perches. It belongs to the family Cheilodactylidae, also known as the Morwongs.

Identification

The species has a pale head and body with three dark bands, the central band usually the darkest. Interestingly, the fish can "turn off" the central band almost instantly, dramatically changing its colour pattern.

Distribution

The species is found in temperate marine wates from Albany in Western Australia to Kiama in New South Wales. It is also found in Tasmania.

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.

Cheilodactylus nigripes

Ozcam map of Magpie Perch specimens in the Australian Museum. http://ozcam.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=Cheilodactylus%20nigripes&zoom=off#mapView

References

  1. Gomon, M.F., Bray, D. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 2008. The Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Reed New Holland. Pp. 928.
  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. Hutchins, B. & M. Thompson. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 103.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
    Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & F.H. Talbot. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority. Pp. 563.