Animal Species:Sand Whiting, Sillago ciliata Cuvier, 1829

Sometimes called the Blue-nose Whiting, it is an important commercial and recreational species. The Sand Whiting is commonly found in bays, estuaries and beyond the breakers off surf beaches.

Sand Whiting, Sillago ciliata

Sand Whiting, Sillago ciliata
Photographer: Nick Dawkins © Nick Dawkins

Standard Common Name

Sand Whiting

Alternative Name/s

Sometimes called the Blue-nose Whiting.


The Sand Whiting has a short-based spiny dorsal fin and a long-based soft dorsal fin. The lateral line is gently curved above the pectoral fin.

The species is silver-grey above and white below. The ventral and anal fins are yellow. There is a dusky spot on the pectoral fin base.

Size range

The Sand Whiting grows to 50 cm in length.


The Sand Whiting is known from northern Queensland to Tasmania, including Lord Howe Island. It also occurs in Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia.

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

Sillago ciliata

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Sand Whiting specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?


It is found in bays, estuaries and beyond the breakers off surf beaches. Juveniles live in seagrass beds and are sometimes seen in small aggregations on sandy slopes.

Economic/social impacts

It is an important commercial and recreational species.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H., & G.P. Whitley. 1976. Annotated checklist of the Fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum. 30: 365-454.
  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. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fish, ichthyology, Sand Whiting, Sillago ciliata, sandy bottom, Blue-nose Whiting, bays, estuaries, silver-grey, pale underside, long and skinny, yellow fins, 30 cm - 1 m, juveniles live in seagrass, Sillaginidae,