Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    stellata
    Genus
    Halieutaea
    Family
    Ogcocephalidae
    Order
    Lophiiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to a maximum length of 30 cm.

Introduction

Fishes in the genus Halieutaea have the head expanded into a flat, circular disc. The upper surface has scales modified into spiny tubercles.  The fish in the video below might not be H. stellata, but the footage is so interesting, it just had to be shared!

Identification

Batfishes have a fleshy lure (the esca) on the snout. The esca is positioned within a bony recess called the illicial cavity.

The pectoral fins project laterally at the rear of the disc. The pelvic fins are located on the under side of the disc.

The Starry Seabat is usually red to pink dorsally with fine black or grey spots forming crescentic patterns. The pectoral, caudal and dorsal fins are red, usually with black margins.

Distribution

It is a benthic species that occurs throughout the tropical Indo-West Pacific.

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

Halieutaea stellata

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

References

  1. Bradbury, M.G. 1967. The Genera of Batfishes (Family Ogcocephalidae). Copeia. 2:399-422.
  2. Gloerfelt-Tarp, T & P.J. Kailola. 1984. Trawled Fishes of southern Indonesia and north-western Australia. Jakarta: Directorate General of Fisheries (Indonesia), German Agency for Technical Cooperation, Australian Development Assistance Bureau. Pp. 406.
  3. Paxton, J.R., D.F. Hoese, G.R. Allen & J.E. Hanley. 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia Vol.7 Pisces Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Survey. Pp. i-xii, 1-665.
  4. Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J, & G.G. Leyland. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of northern and north-western Australia. An illustrated Guide. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research. Pp. 375.