PORT PHILLIP BAY


Red Velvetfish 

Gnathanacanthus goetzeei Bleeker, 1855

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: XII-XIII, 9-10
Anal fin spines/rays: III, 8-10
Caudal fin rays: 10-12
Pectoral fin rays: 11
Ventral fin spines/rays: I, 5
Lateral line: (pores) 15-23

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.
Endemic Australian family with a single species.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Scorpaeniformes
Family:
Gnathacanthidae
Genus:
Gnathanacanthus
Species:
goetzeei

General Description

Striking red or orange fishes with a compressed body, a large head and large rounded fins; dorsal fin continuous with high rounded lobes; pelvic fins below pectoral fins, both rounded; scales absent, body covered in fine velvety skin. Bright mottled orange, red or brown. Juveniles very pale with red spots. To 46 cm.

Biology

Although relatively common in some areas, the Red Velvetfish is surprisingly well-camouflaged amongst kelp and other macroalgae. These ambush predators feed mostly on crustaceans such as crabs and shrimps. The fin spines are venomous and can inflict an excruciatingly painful sting.

Habitat

Sheltered rocky reefs covered in kelp and other macroalgae, in depths of 1-55 m.

Reefs

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Velvetfishes

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

46 cm

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, Red Velvetfish, Gnathanacanthus goetzeei, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Jul 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7991

Text: creative commons cc by licence