PORT PHILLIP BAY


Reef Ocean Perch 

Helicolenus percoides (Richardson & Solander, 1842)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: XII, 11-13
Anal fin spines/rays: III, 5
Caudal fin rays: 13
Pectoral fin rays: 18-20
Ventral fin spines/rays: I, 5
Lateral line: 27-29
Gill rakers: 4-7 + 14-18

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 diverse group of bottom-dwelling fishes with a bony ridge, or stay across the cheek connecting the bones under the eye with the gill cover. Most species have spines projecting from bony ridges on the head and some have spines projecting from the gill cover. Many species are well-camouflaged ambush predators, often with elaborate cirri, filaments, leaf-like appendages and spiny ridges enhancing their camouflage. Scales are present or absent. Gurnards (also called searobins) have a pair of rostral spines projecting from the snout, large colourful wing-like pectoral fins and crawl over the bottom on their finger-like pelvic-fin rays. Many species have venomous spines.

Family level detail.
A group of live-bearing marine scorpionfish relatives found in subtropical and temperate waters worldwide. They have compressed bodies, spines and ridges on the head, and venomous fin spines. Some species are commercially important.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Scorpaeniformes
Family:
Sebastidae
Genus:
Helicolenus
Species:
percoides

General Description

Head moderately large; a smooth bony ridge below eye; prominent spines on gill cover. Pinkish to whitish, with 3 broad orange to dark brown bands on sides, extending onto fins, and often with dark speckles. To 40 cm.

Biology

Shallow-water and deeper populations of these fishes may represent separate species. It is commercially fished throughout its range. The fin spines are venomous.

Habitat

Coastal reefs and sandy bottoms, in depths of 10-330 m.

Soft substrates

Reefs

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Ocean perches

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

40 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Harmful

Venomous spines can inflict mild to severe pain.

Commercial Species

Yes

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

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, Reef Ocean Perch, Helicolenus percoides, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Sep 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6493

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