Weeping Toadfish, Torquigener pleurogramma Click to enlarge image
A Weeping Toadfish at a depth of 8 m, under Swansea Bridge, central coast New South Wales, 24 December 2011. Image: Matt Dowse
© Matt Dowse

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    pleurogramma
    Genus
    Torquigener
    Family
    Tetraodontidae
    Order
    Tetraodontiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 20 cm in length.

Introduction

The standard name of the Weeping Toadfish refers to the dark 'tear lines' under the eyes.



Identification

The Weeping Toadfish can be recognised by the dark stripe along the side of the body and the vertical "tear lines" across the cheek.

Like all the toadfishes (Family Tetraodontidae) the Weeping Toadfish has fused beak-like teeth.

Habitat

The species is found mostly in sheltered bays.

Distribution

The Weeping Toadfish occurs from the central Queensland coast, around the south of the country and north to the central coast of Western Australia.

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. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



Predators

Dr Barry Hutchins stated that: In Perth local waters, the Weeping Toadfish is heavily preyed upon by seagulls, even though at times it is poisonous to eat (at least for terrestrial animals). Also it is occasionally eaten by snapper. I have seen seagulls catching them from the vicinity of jetties, and anglers who have discarded them have seen seagulls swoop down and fly away with the carcasses. There was a study written up about this in the West Australian Naturalist back in the 60's or 70's. The important thing is that the Weeping Toadfish only appears to be poisonous when it is ripe, i.e. when the gonads are enlarged.

References

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