PORT PHILLIP BAY


Little Gurnard Perch 

Maxillicosta scabriceps Whitley, 1935

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: XIII, 6-8
Anal fin spines/rays: III, 5
Caudal fin rays: 10-12
Pectoral fin rays: 21-24
Ventral fin spines/rays: I, 5
Lateral line: 28-33
Gill rakers: 3-4 +8-9 = 11-14

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.
Scorpionfish relatives with a compressed body, a large prominent head, large eyes, a large mouth, with rough scales over most of body, strong ridges and spines on the head, strong venomous fin spines, 13 long robust dorsal-fin spines that are much longer that the fin rays, 6-8 soft dorsal-fin rays and large pectoral fins. Bottom-dwelling fishes, living on the bottom in tropical and temperate environments of the Indo-Pacific; ambush predators, feeding on fishes and crustaceans.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Scorpaeniformes
Family:
Neosebastidae
Genus:
Maxillicosta
Species:
scabriceps

General Description

Head and body robust with prominent spines on head, cheeks and gill covers. Pale brown or grey with darker patches and mottling above, white below. To 12 cm.

Biology

A nocturnal species, often buried in sand during the day and only occasionally seen by divers. It is common off Portsea and similar areas in Victoria, and taken as bycatch in commercial trawls. The venomous fin spines can inflict a painful sting.

Habitat

Shallow sandy and shelly bottoms, often near seagrass beds in bays and along the coast, in depths of 2-46 m.

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Gurnard perches

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

12 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Harmful

Venomous spines can inflict mild to severe pain.

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, Little Gurnard Perch, Maxillicosta scabriceps, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Jul 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6499

Text: creative commons cc by licence