PORT PHILLIP BAY


Butterfly Gurnard 

Lepidotrigla vanessa (Richardson, 1839)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: X-XI; 16-17
Anal fin spines/rays: 16-17
Caudal fin rays: 11
Pectoral fin rays: 11 + 3
Ventral fin spines/rays: I, 5
Lateral line: 64-69

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 large family of bottom-dwelling fishes found mostly on sandy and muddy bottoms, with large bony armoured heads, two bony projections on front of snout, and large, colourful, wing-like pectoral fins. The three lower rays are thickened and free from the rest of the fin, and used for ?walking? over the bottom and probing the substrate for food. They lack venom glands, and display their brightly coloured pectoral fins to startle predators.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Scorpaeniformes
Family:
Triglidae
Genus:
Lepidotrigla
Species:
vanessa

General Description

Head large, bony; bony rostrum on snout with a very small median notch with tiny spines; scales rough, those along lateral line large and spiny. Mottled reddish-brown to dark brown above, whitish below; inner surface of fan-like pectoral fins dark green to yellowish, with a bright blue margin and a blue-edged ocellus on the lower rear of fin in juveniles; spinous dorsal fin with a black ocellus.

Biology

This species usually lives below 20 m, and is rarely seen by divers. It is taken as bycatch in commercial fisheries.

Habitat

Usually found offshore on sandy and muddy bottoms, juveniles enter bays and estuaries, in depths of 20-100 m.

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Gurnards

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

28 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Commercial Species

No

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, Butterfly Gurnard, Lepidotrigla vanessa, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 16 Dec 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6497

Text: creative commons cc by licence