Tarwhine, Rhabdosargus sarba Click to enlarge image
A Tarwhine at Fly Point, Port Stephens, New South Wales. Image: Richard Ling
© Richard Ling

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    sarba
    Genus
    Rhabdosargus
    Family
    Sparidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to 45 cm and weights up to 1.4 kg.

Introduction

Tarwhine look a little like a deep-bodied bream with stripes. They are common on the New South Wales coast.

Identification

The Tarwhine can be recognised by its silver body with rows of yellow spots forming stripes. The pelvic and anal fins are usually yellow but fade with age.

The Tarwhine is sometimes confused with the Yellowfin Bream, Acanthopagrus australis, and the Black Bream Acanthopagrus butcheri. Both bream species lack the golden striped colouration of the Tarwhine. The Tarwhine also has a more rounded snout and a greater number of scale rows above the lateral line. There are 6-7 rows in the Tarwhine and 4 rows in the two bream species. Another distinguishing feature is the length of the third anal spine. In Tarwhines it is equal to the length of the second anal spine but shorter for the two Acanthopagrus.

Habitat

The species is found in bays, harbours and coastal areas.

Distribution

It is found widely throughout the Indo-Pacific. In Australia it is recorded on the east coast from southern Queensland to eastern Victoria and on the west coast from central to southern 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

The Tarwhine is a schooling species.

References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.