PORT PHILLIP BAY


Western Cleaner Clingfish 

Cochleoceps bicolor Hutchins, 1991

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: 6
Anal fin spines/rays: 4-6
Caudal fin rays: 10-12
Pectoral fin rays: 21-24
Ventral fin spines/rays: I, 4
Lateral line: -
Vertebrae: 31

Interpreting fin count meristics.
Spines are in Roman numerals and soft rays are in Arabic numerals. Spines and rays that are continuous in one fin are separated by a comma. Fin sections are separated by semicolons.

Detailed descriptions of fin count and other meristics are in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
A large and highly diverse group of modern bony fishes many of which have a generalized perch like body form. Most have pelvic fins with one spine and 5 rays and the maxillary bone is excluded from the gape of the mouth. Interrelationships of the group are poorly understood and continue to be studied. They inhabit almost all aquatic habitats from high-altitude strams to the deep sea, although most are marine.

Family level detail.
Except for the shore eels of the genus Alabes, most gobiesocids have pelvic fins modified into an obvious sucking disc on the underside of the body. Clingfishes usually have large flattened heads and tapering compressed bodies, with small dorsal and anal fins positioned far back near the tail. They have fin spines and lack scales. Shore eels are elongate, moderately-compressed and eel-like, with long-based dorsal and anal fins united with the tail, and a gill slit on the underside. Their pelvic fins are either minute or absent, and they lack fin spines, pectoral fins and scales.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Perciformes
Family:
Gobiesocidae
Genus:
Cochleoceps
Species:
bicolor

General Description

Head broadly flattened, body tapering towards the tail; dorsal and anal fins short-based, set far back on body; tail base of moderate length, caudal fin rounded; pelvic fins united into a large sucking disc on the underside with a fleshy fringe on the posterior edge; snout very short, rounded when viewed from above. Head and body covered in close-set red and purple spots, with a series of blue lines or bands across the top and sides, tail greyish. To 4 cm.

Biology

These little fishes set up cleaning stations, clinging to larger fishes to remove their parasites. Although recorded from Port Phillip and Western Port in Victoria, the Western Cleaner Fish prefers deeper offshore reefs where it lives in caves, or in association with sponges and ascidians.

Habitat

Prefers caves in deeper offshore reefs, in depths of 5-40 m.

Reefs

Distribution guide

Southern Australia, including western and central Victoria.

Species Group

Fishes Clingfishes and shore-eels

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

4 cm

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Western Cleaner Clingfish, Cochleoceps bicolor, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 18 Oct 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6373

Text: creative commons cc by licence