PORT PHILLIP BAY


Southern Hulafish 

Trachinops caudimaculatus McCoy, 1890

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: XICV-XV, 16-17
Anal fin spines/rays: III, 17-19
Caudal fin rays: 17
Pectoral fin rays: 18
Ventral fin spines/rays: I, 4
Lateral line: 45-51 + 13-18

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 large and highly diverse group of modern bony fishes many of which have a generalized perch like body form. Most have pelvic fins with one spine and 5 rays and the maxillary bone is excluded from the gape of the mouth. Interrelationships of the group are poorly understood and continue to be studied. They inhabit almost all aquatic habitats from high-altitude strams to the deep sea, although most are marine.

Family level detail.
Small to medium-sized fishes with a deep tail base, a blunt rounded head, smooth scales on head, rough on body; lateral line in 2-3 sections, long-based dorsal fin undivided; pelvic fins with one spine and 2 or 4 soft rays, 1st ray thickened. Most hide in crevices, caves and amongst coral on reefs, except for some plankton feeders, rarely venture from shelter. Many feed at night to feed on small invertebrates and occasionally on fishes. Parents care for the eggs, either attaching them to rocks, guarding them in small holes or caves, or brooding them in their mouths.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Perciformes
Family:
Plesiopidae
Genus:
Trachinops
Species:
caudimaculatus

General Description

Body very long, slender, with long rays projecting from the tail, a blunt head, and a low, long-based dorsal fin. Pinkish-brown, pale below, with a large black blotch at the tail base and bright blue eyes. To 15 cm.

Biology

These fishes form small to very large schools near caves and ledges, and under jetties and piers, feeding on zooplankton in the water column. Their common name is derived from the behaviour of constantly flicking their tails, resembling the skirts of hula dancers.

Habitat

Sheltered coastal reefs and rocky areas in bays and estuaries, in depths of 1-35 m.

Reefs

Distribution guide

South-eastern Australia, including western and central Victoria.

Species Group

Fishes Blue devils and hulafishes

Depth

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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

15 cm

Diet

Omnivore

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, Southern Hulafish, Trachinops caudimaculatus, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 17 Aug 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/8018

Text: creative commons cc by licence