Spiny Gurnard Click to enlarge image
A Spiny Gurnard at a depth of 9 m, Fly Point, Port Stephens, New South Wales, June 2003. Image: Dave Harasti
© Dave Harasti

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    papilio
    Genus
    Lepidotrigla
    Family
    Triglidae
    Order
    Scorpaeniformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 20 cm in length.

Introduction

The Spiny Gurnard has an ocellus on the first dorsal fin and three detached and thickened lower pectoral fin rays. The species is endemic to Australia.



Identification

The Spiny Gurnard has a an ocellus on the first dorsal fin and three detached and thickened lower pectoral fin rays. Enlarged spiny scales run along the lateral line and along the bases of the two dorsal fins.


Spiny Gurnard, Lepidotrigla papilio
A Spiny Gurnard at a depth of 6 m, Chowder Bay, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, 27 March 2010. Image: Jayne Jenkins
© Jayne Jenkins

Habitat

It lives mostly in sand and rubble areas in estuaries and coastal reefs.

Distribution

The Spiny Gurnard is endemic to Australia. It occurs in southern temperate marine waters from central New South Wales to south-western 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.



Other behaviours and adaptations

When disturbed, the species often spreads its blue-margined pectoral fins. This behaviour is likely to startle potential predators.

Divers regularly see this species 'walking' along the bottom raised on the three detached lower rays of both pectoral fins.

References

  1. Gomon, M.F. 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.
  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. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433. (as Lepidotrigla pleuracanthica).
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437. (as Lepidotrigla pleuracanthica).