Weeping Toadfish, Torquigener pleurogramma (Regan 1903)


Other Names: Banded Toadfish, Common Blowfish, Common Toadfish, Striped Toadfish, Weeping Toado

A Weeping Toadfish, Torquigener pleurogramma, in Little Bay, Sydney, New South Wales. Source: Klaus Stiefel / Flickr. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

Summary:
A pale greyish to brownish or greenish puffer with pale spots above a dark mid-lateral stripe, silvery-white sides and belly, several broad dark bands across the back, and several fine dark, vertical "tear-like: lines on the cheek.

Weeping Toadfish are poisonous and must not be eaten or fed to pets.

Video of a Weeping Toadfish with a large isopod hitchhiker.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Torquigener pleurogramma in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Oct 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/883

Weeping Toadfish, Torquigener pleurogramma (Regan 1903)

More Info


Distribution

Widely distributed around much of the southern half of Australia from Port Clinton, Queensland, to southern New South Wales or eastern Victoria, and Gulf St Vincent, South Australia, to Coral Bay, Western Australia. The species does not occur in Bass Strait or Tasmania; also at Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. 
Common in estuaries and coastal bays along the eastern and western coasts of Australia where individuals frequently form schools.

Features

Dorsal fin 9-11; Anal fin 8-11; Caudal fin 11; Pectoral fin 14-17.
Body elongate, thick, rounded dorsally, flattened ventrally, tapering to narrow elongate caudal peduncle; a distinct ventrolateral skinfold extending from posterior margin of each pectoral fin to caudal fin base; body cavity inflatable. Head of moderate size (27-34% SL);  snout long; eyes of moderate size, dorsally adnate only, lower border just above pectoral fin base; bony interorbital space broad; chin prominent;  mouth small; teeth in each jaw fused into beak-like structure separated by medial groove; each nostril a short erect papilla, distally with two openings; gill openings confined to area just in front of pectoral fin bases.  

Scales absent, body densely covered by small but distinct spines extending from mid-snout to midway between pectoral fin bases and dorsal fin dorsally, to anus ventrally; lateral line distinct, angled from back of head toward centre of caudal peduncle, second lateral line associated with each ventrolateral skinfold.  

Single small bluntly pointed, paddle-shaped dorsal fin positioned posteriorly; anal fin similar to and opposite dorsal fin; caudal fin truncate. Pectoral fins moderately small, rounded. Pelvic fins absent.

Colour

Pale grey or greenish above, with many irregularly scattered paler spots and some smaller darker spots; broad dark bands, varying in intensity between individuals, across dorsum between eyes, one-third way between bases of pectoral and dorsal fins, and through dorsal fin base and between dorsal and caudal fin bases; dark stripe laterally with indistinct pale or yellowish upper border, extending from above each pectoral fin base to caudal fin; pale yellowish tinge sometimes occurring on each side between lateral stripe and ventrolateral skin fold, otherwise silvery; cheeks with several thin, dark, vertical lines, sometimes having yellowish tinge, giving tear-like appearance; chin yellowish; belly white; pectoral, dorsal and caudal fins pale, sometimes with yellowish tinge; anal fin pale, sometimes with yellowish tinge at base.

Feeding

Carnivore - feeds opportunistically on a wide variety of benthic invertebrates, including polychaete worms, amphipods, and bivalve molluscs.

Biology

The Weeping Toado has reportedly attacked spearfishers, perhaps attracted to the scent of fish blood.

Fisheries

Taken as bycatch in estuarine prawn fisheries, and by recreational hook-and-line fishers, often out-competing other species for bait.

Remarks

Weeping Toadfish possess occlusable yellow corneas - the species can vary the amount of pigment in its cornea by expanding chromatophores. The cornea becomes yellowish under bright light.

Author

Bray, D.J. 2017

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Weeping Toadfish, Torquigener pleurogramma (Regan 1903)

References


Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

Collin, S.P. & Collin, H.B. 2000. The corneal endothelium in the blowfish (Torquigener pleurogramma) Cornea 19(2): 231-235.

Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. 544 pp.
Francis, M.P. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pac. Sci. 47(2): 136-170.

Hardy, G.S. 1983. Revision of Australian species of Torquigener Whitley (Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae), and two new generic names for Australian puffer fishes. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 13(1/2): 1-48 figs 1-18

Hardy, G.S. 1989. Description of a new species of Torquigener Whitley (Pisces: Tetraodontidae) from South Africa, with a key to the genus. National Museum of New Zealand Records 3(11): 119-123.

Hardy, G.S. 1994. Family Tetraodontidae. pp. 902-912, figs 795-804 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. 180 pp.

Hyndes, G.A., Kendrick, A.J., MacArthur, L.D. & Stewart, E. 2003. Differences in the species- and size-composition of fish assemblages in three distinct seagrass habitats with differing plant and meadow structure. Marine Biology 142: 1195-1206.

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. 433 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. 437 pp.

Lardner, R., Ivantsoff, W., Crowley, E.L.M. 1993. Recolonization by fishes of a rocky intertidal pool following repeated defaunation. Australian Zoologist 29: 1-2. 

Leis, J.M. & Carson-Ewart, B.M. (eds) 2000. The larvae of Indo-Pacific coastal fishes. An identification guide to marine fish larvae. E.J. Brill, Leiden. 

Lenanton, R.C.J. and Caputi, N. 1989. The roles of food supply and shelter in the relationship between fishes, in particular Cnidoglanis macrocephalus (Valenciennes), and detached macrophytes in the surf zone of sandy beaches. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology Ecology 128: 165-176.

Matsuura, K. 2008. Families Ostraciidae, Tetraodontidae. pp. 842-856 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.
May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp.

Miller, S.J. & Skilleter, G.A. 2006. Temporal variation in habitat use by nekton in a subtropical estuarine system. Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology 337(1): 82-95.

Potter, I.C., Beckley, L.E., Whitfield, A.K. & Lenanton, R.C. 1990. Comparisons between the roles played by estuaries in the life cycles of fishes in temperate Western Australia and Southern Africa. Environmental Biology of Fishes 28(1): 143-178. 

Potter, I.C., Cheal, A.J.& Loneragan N.R. 1988. Protracted estuarine phase in the life cycle of the marine pufferfish Torquigener pleurogramma. Marine Biology 98: 317-329.

Regan, C.T. 1903. On the classification of the fishes of the suborder Plectognathi, with notes and descriptions of new species from specimens in the British Museum collection. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1902(2, 2): 284-303 figs 56-59 pls 24-25
Shao, K., Liu, M., Jing, L., Hardy, G., Leis, J.L. & Matsuura, K. 2014. Torquigener pleurogramma. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T193636A2251178. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T193636A2251178.en. Downloaded on 14 April 2017.

Siebeck, U.E., S.P. Collin, M. Ghoddusi & N.J. Marshall. 2003. Occlusable corneas in toadfishes: light transmission, movement and ultrastruture of pigment during light- and dark-adaptation.Journal of Experimental Biology 206: 2177-2190. PDF

Smallwood, C.B., Pollock, K H., Wise, B.S., Hall, N.G. & Gaughan D.J. 2011. Quantifying recreational fishing catch and effort: a pilot study of shore-based fishers in the Perth Metropolitan area. Fisheries Research Report no. 216 Final NRM Report - Project No. 09040. Government of Western Australia Department of Fisheries.

Travers, M.J. & I.C. Potter. 2002. Factors influencing the characteristics of fish assemblages in a large subtropical marine embayment. J. Fish Biol. 61(3): 764-784.

Waite, E.R. 1923. The Fishes of South Australia. Adelaide : Government Printer 243 pp. 325 figs.


Valesini, F.J., Potter, I.C. & Clarke, K.R. 2004. To what extent are the fish compositions at nearshore sites along a heterogeneous coast related to habitat type? Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 60(4): 737-754.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37467030

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:Poisonous

Depth:1-30 m

Habitat:Estuaries, coastal waters

Max Size:21 cm TL

Native:Endemic

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