PORT PHILLIP BAY


Barred Toadfish 

Contusus richei (Fréminville, 1813)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: 9-11
Anal fin spines/rays: 8-10
Caudal fin rays: 11
Pectoral fin rays: 14-17

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.
The Tetraodontiformes is a very diverse and specialized group of bony fishes that share the loss, reduction or fusion of many bony structures in the head and body. Fins and their supporting elements are reduced or lost, and vertebrae are reduced in number. They have small mouths with modified teeth that may be enlarged or fused into a beak-like structure, or incorporated into the jaw bones. The gill opening is reduced to a small slit near the pectoral-fin base, and most have thick skin, covered in scales that are modified into spines, ossicles or fused bony plates. Some groups are poisonous, and the puffers and porcupinefishes are highly inflatable. Puffers adn their allies are found worldwide in temperate and tropical seas, and a few species enter freshwaters.

Family level detail.
The family Tetraodontidae is a large group of poisonous fishes with robust, oval-shaped bodies with often covered in small modified scales with spines and prickles sometimes embedded in the skins. They have short-based dorsal and anal fins set far back on the body and have tooth, or beak-like structures in their jaws. They lack a pelvis and fin spines. Puffers defend themselves by inflating their stomachs with water to greatly increase their size, also making the bristly scales stand out from the body.

Family level detail.
A large group of poisonous fishes with robust, oval-shaped bodies with often covered in small modified scales with spines and prickles sometimes embedded in the skins. They have short-based dorsal and anal fins set far back on the body and have tooth, or beak-like structures in their jaws. They lack a pelvis and fin spines. Puffers defend themselves by inflating their stomachs with water to greatly increase their size, also making the bristly scales stand out from the body.

Some pufferfishes are extremely poisonous, concentrating highly poisonous toxin in their internal organs, but also sometimes in the skin and blood. Although many people have died from eating pufferfishes around the world, the flesh of some species is considered a delicacy in east Asia where it is carefully prepared in specially licensed restaurants. Some species can also discharge the toxin into the water to repel predators.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Tetraodontiformes
Family:
Tetraodontidae
Genus:
Contusus
Species:
richei

General Description

Body robust, somewhat rounded, densely covered in small spines that extend onto tail base; dorsal and anal fins ending well short of tail base; lower edge of eyes level with top of pectoral-fin base. Body pale greyish, with large darker blotches on back, and several distinct greyish blotches behind eye and on side to tail base; underside and anal fin pale. To 22 cm.

Habitat

On sandy bottoms and in seagrass beds in bays, estuaries and along the coast, in depths of 1-50 m.

Soft substrates

Seagrass meadows

Distribution guide

New Zealand and south-eastern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Puffers and toadies

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

22 cm

Harmful

Poisonous toxins in body.

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in 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, Barred Toadfish, Contusus richei, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Jul 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6516

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