Spotted Scat, Scatophagus argus Click to enlarge image
A Spotted Scat caught in a throw net at Sanctuary Cove, Queensland, March 2007. The fish was photographed then released. Image: Stewart Salisbury
© Stewart Salisbury

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    argus
    Genus
    Scatophagus
    Family
    Scatophagidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to about 33 cm in length.

The Spotted Scat is greenish, brown or silvery to golden on the sides with brown to reddish-brown spots. The species lives in freshwater, inshore and estuarine waters, often in mangrove areas.



Identification

The Spotted Scat is a deep bodied compressed species. It is greenish, brown or silvery to golden on the sides with brown to reddish-brown spots. Juveniles are often darker, often with alternating light and dark bars.

Habitat

The Spotted Scat lives in freshwater, inshore and estuarine waters, often in mangrove areas.

Distribution

It occurs in tropical and some warm temperate waters of the Indo-west and Central Pacific. In Australia it is known from north-western Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country and south to the central New South Wales coast.

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.



Economic impacts

Merrick (1984) states that "Large specimens are reported to be fair eating, but should be cleaned immediately after capture to avoid deterioration."

Danger to humans

This fish should be handled with care because the dorsal fin spines can inflict painful wounds. Poison glands are present at the bases of the spines of both juveniles and adults.

References

  1. Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & M. Allen. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 394.
  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. Merrick, J.R. & G.E. Schmida. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes. Biology and Management. John R. Merrick. Pp. 409.