Zebrafish Click to enlarge image
A school of Zebrafish near the surface at the southern end of Lady Bay, South Australia, 17 December 2015. Image: David Muirhead
© David Muirhead

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    zebra
    Genus
    Girella
    Family
    Girellidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 51 cm in length.

Introduction

Adult Zebrafish have a pale body with nine or ten tapering dark bars on the sides. The fish occurs in shallow coastal reefs in southern Australian waters.

Identification

The Zebrafish can be recognised by its pale body with nine or ten tapering dark bars on the sides. It has pale yellow fins. Juveniles are darker with less distinct banding.

This fish has a long based dorsal fin and a large forked caudal fin. It has a small mouth. The maxillae of the upper jaw are concealed behind the preorbital bones. The jaws have a distinct outer row of flattened tricuspid teeth behind which is a band of smaller teeth.


Zebrafish, Girella zebra
A Zebrafish at a depth of 10m north-west Kangaroo Island, South Australia, December 2003. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Habitat

It is usually found on rocky reefs in shallow coastal waters down to 20 m in depth. It is sometimes seen in protected offshore waters and estuaries.

Distribution

The Zebrafish is endemic to Australia. It is known from northern New South Wales, around the south of the country, including north-eastern Tasmania, 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. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



Other behaviours and adaptations

It is a schooling species.

References

  1. Gomon, M.F. 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.