Moonlighter, <i>Tilodon sexfasciatus</i> Click to enlarge image
A Moonlighter shot in very shallow water at Lady Bay, South Australia, October 2010. The photographer David Muirhead stated that "Here in South Australia Moonlighters are very often engaged in daytime cleaning of many same-sized or bigger inshore fishes, mostly rocky macroalgal reef site-associated species. The Moonlighter has a 'station' (often a small elevated rock overhang or shallow reef ledge) albeit much less clearly defined than the sponges or similar prominent fixed invertebrate benthic stations favoured by the Western Cleaner-Clingfish, Cochleoceps bicolor." Image: David Muirhead
© David Muirhead

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    sexfasciatus
    Genus
    Tilodon
    Family
    Microcanthidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
  • Size Range
    It grows to 30 cm in length.

Introduction

The Moonlighter can be recognised by its deep body and barred pattern. It is silver with one bar crossing the head through the eye, three on the sides of the body and one or two on the caudal peduncle.



Distribution

The species is endemic to Australia, occurring in coastal waters of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and south-western Western Australia.

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., Bray, D. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 2008. The Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Reed New Holland. Pp. 928.