PORT PHILLIP BAY


Whiskered Prowfish 

Neopataecus waterhousii (Castelnau, 1872)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: XIX-XXIII, 7-10
Anal fin spines/rays: V-VII, 3-5
Caudal fin rays: 9
Pectoral fin rays: 8
Ventral fin spines/rays: -
Lateral line: (pores) 10-19

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.
Small family of scorpionfish relatives found only in Australia. They have very compressed wedge-shaped bodies, a long-based dorsal fin arising on the snout and attached to the tail fin, and lack pelvic fins and scales. The spines are not venomous.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Scorpaeniformes
Family:
Pataecidae
Genus:
Neopataecus
Species:
waterhousii

General Description

Head and body extremely compressed, wedge-shaped, dorsal fin joined to very narrow tail base; body not covered in thick warty skin. Extremely variable in colour, often grey to olive brown with black spots, or a deep red. To 22 cm.

Biology

These fishes are able to shed their skin to prevent the build-up of fouling organisms.

Habitat

Sheltered reefs near sponges or macroalgae, in depths of 1-45 m.

Reefs

Sponge gardens

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Prowfishes

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

22 cm

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, Whiskered Prowfish, Neopataecus waterhousii, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 30 Jun 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6500

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