Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    hippos
    Genus
    Seriola
    Family
    Carangidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to about 1.75 m in length.

Introduction

Samsonfish vary considerably in body shape and colouration with growth. The species occurs in Australian and New Zealand waters.

Identification

The Samsonfish is an elongate compressed fish with a forked caudal fin. The dorsal and anal fins are elevated anteriorly. The pectoral fins are small.

The species varies considerably in body shape and colouration with growth. Juveniles have blunt heads and broad vertical bars on the body. Adults are usually silvery with a brownish to bronze sheen on the back. There is sometimes a yellow stripe on the side of the body. After capture the fish often takes on a barred pattern and becomes darker brown above after death.

Four species of Seriola occur in Australian waters. In addition to the Samsonfish, Seriola hippos, there are the Amberjack, Seriola dumerili, Yellowtail Kingfish, Seriola lalandi and the Highfin Amberjack, Seriola rivoliana.

The Amberjack has a purplish-brown back and caudal fin. The Yellowtail Kingfish has a blue to bluish-green back and a yellow caudal fin, It has a broad yellow, midlateral stripe. The Highfin Amberjack is a stockier fish with a high leading lobe to the second dorsal fin. Adults have an obvious line through the eye.

Habitat

It is a pelagic, schooling species that occurs in coastal and inshore waters often near rocky reefs.

Distribution

The Samsonfish occurs in Australian and New Zealand waters. In Australia it is known from southern Queensland to southern New South Wales and the Yorke Peninsula South Australia to the central coast of Western Australia.

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

Ozcam map of Samsonfish specimens in the Australian Museums. http://ozcam.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=Seriola%20hippos&zoom=off#mapView

References

  1. Francis, M. P., 1993 Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science. 47(2):136-170.
  2. Gomon, M.F. Family Carangidae. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  6. Smith-Vaniz, W.F., 1999. Carangidae. Jacks and scads. Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (ed). pp 2659-2756. In The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 4. FAO species identification guide for Fishery purposes. FAO.