Rock Cale Click to enlarge image
A Rock Cale at a depth of 8 m, Bowen Island, Jervis Bay, New South Wales, March 2001. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    lophodon
    Genus
    Aplodactylus
    Family
    Aplodactylidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 35 cm in length.

Introduction

The Rock Cale can be recognised by its small head and blunt snout. It occurs in shallow coastal waters of New South Wales and Victoria.

Identification

The Rock Cale has a small head with a blunt snout, which give it a "hunchbacked" appearance. It has large pectoral fins with thickened lower rays. Its colouration varies from yellowish-brown in females to bluish-black in males. There is lighter mottling on the body and pale spots on all the fins. Adults have a dark saddle below the first dorsal fin and a row of white blotches on the sides.

The Rock Cale can be separated from other species of Aplodactylus by its larger scales (72-82 in the lateral line versus 83-120) and its lack of vomerine teeth.

Many recent publications list this species as Crinodus lophodon. The research of Dr B.C. Russell (see Further Reading), of the Northern Territory Museum, has shown that this species should be placed in the genus Aplodactylus.

Habitat

It is a very common fish in the exposed shores of the central New South Wales coast. It occurs from the surface down to about 10 m depth.

Distribution

The Rock Cale is found from northern New South Wales to northern Victoria.

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.



Feeding and diet

The Rock Cale eats algae.

Life history cycle

Juveniles have an obvious 'ear spot', which is visible in the video below.



References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  5. Russell, B.C. 2000. Review of the southern temperate fish family Aplodactylidae(Pisces: Perciformes). Journal of Natural History. 34: 2157-2171.