White-ear, Parma microlepis Click to enlarge image
A juvenile White-ear Fairy Bower, Manly, New South Wales. Image: Richard Ling
© Richard Ling

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    microlepis
    Genus
    Parma
    Family
    Pomacentridae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The White-ear grows to 20 cm in length.

The White-ear changes colour as it grows but always has a white blotch on the operculum that gives rise to the common name. Agressive males may nip divers during the breeding season.



Identification

The White-ear changes colour as it grows but always has a white blotch on the operculum that gives rise to the common name. Young juveniles are orange with neon blue lines, and a blue-rimmed ocellus on the dorsal fin. As the fish grows the blue lines become less distinct and break into spots. The bright yellow colour gradually fades resulting in the adults colouration which is yellowish-brown to grey or black.

Habitat

The species occurs on exposed rocky reefs from the surface (often in rockpools as juveniles) to a depth of 30 m.

Distribution

The species is endemic to Australia, occuring from northern New South Wales to northern Tasmania.

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.



Breeding behaviours

Adult males aggressively defend their territories during the breeding season.

Danger to humans

Aggressive males may nip divers during the breeding season.

References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life; the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544
  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. 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.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  6. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.