Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    meridianus
    Genus
    Maxillicosta
    Family
    Neosebastidae
    Order
    Scorpaeniformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    8 cm

Introduction

The Southern Gurnard Perch is endemic to south-eastern Australia.  During the day it is usually buried in sandy channels.

Identification

The Southern Gurnard Perch has a relatively shallow body that becomes increasingly compressed posteriorly. It has a large, slightly oblique mouth. Specimens photographed at night have three dark blotches or saddles on the back, a black blotch on the dorsal fin and pale brown spots on the caudal fin.

The Southern Gurnard Perch has previously been confused with Whitley’s Gurnard Perch, Maxillicosta whitleyi. The species have different caudal fin markings (in preserved specimens) and nasal spine morphology. For additional differences, see Motomura et al (2006).

Habitat

It occurs at depths between 10 m and 137 m.  During the day it is usually buried in sandy channels, but is exposed at night.

Distribution

This species is endemic to south-eastern Australia, occurring from eastern Victoria to eastern South Australia and northern Tasmania.

The species name ‘meridianus’ comes from the Latin for ‘southern’ and refers to the distribution in southern 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.

Maxillicosta meridianus

Ozcam map of Southern Gurnard Perch in the Australian Museums. http://ozcam.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=Maxillicosta%20meridianus&zoom=off#mapView

References

  1. Poss, S.G. 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. (as M. whitleyi)
  2. Motomura, H., Last, P.R. & M.F. Gomon. 2006. A New species of the Scorpionfish Genus Maxillicosta from the Southeast Coast of Australia, with a Redescription of M. whitleyi (Scorpaeniformes: Neosebastidae). Copeia 3: 445-459.