Humphead Batfish, Platax batavianus Cuvier 1831


Other Names: Batavia Batfish, Batavian Batfish, Batfish, Humped Batfish, Hump-headed Batfish, Moonfish, Zebra Batfish

A Humphead Batfish, Platax batavianus, at Wessel Marchinbar Island, Northern Territory, August 2013. Source: Ian Shaw / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Summary:
A deep very compressed silvery fish with a dark bar through the eye, a second faint bar just behind head and a yellowish tail. Subadults brownish with a black bar from nape, over eye to chest, a second black bar from dorsal-fin origin to pelvic fins; pectoral and pelvic fins dark brown or black. 
Small juveniles are black with irregular wavy white lines, and are very well-camouflaged when sheltering amongst crinoids. 

Video of a juvenile Humphead Batfish

A juvenile Humphead batfish at Cebu Mactan, Philippines

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Platax batavianus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Aug 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1046

Humphead Batfish, Platax batavianus Cuvier 1831

More Info


Distribution

Recorded in Australia from Shark Bay, Western Australia, around the tropical north to Tweed Heads, New South Wales; also Scott Reef, Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea. Elsewhere, widespread in the tropical, west Pacific (Indo-Australian Archipelago).

Adults usually prefer moderately deep open areas with sparse reef or coral heads. Small juveniles also occur on reefs, often sheltering amongst crinoids.

Features

Dorsal fin VI-VII, 28-31; Anal fin III, 19-23. 
Body deep, strongly compressed; large adults (>40 cm) with  convace snout profile, and a prominent bony swelling between the eyes; bands of slender, flattened, tricuspid teeth in jaws, the middle cusp 3 to 4 times longer than lateral cusps; band of strong teeth on vomer, teeth absent from palatines; 5 pores on each side of lower jaw.

Colour

Large adults (> 40 cm) silvery, with dark bar through the eye, second faint bar just behind head; caudal fin yellowish, other fins dusky. Subadults brownish with a black bar from nape, over eye to chest, a second black bar from dorsal-fin origin to pelvic fins; pectoral and pelvic fins dark brown or black. Small juveniles black with irregular wayv white lines on body and fins. 

Similar Species

Differs from the Round Batfish, Platax orbicularis, in having an indistinct dusky margin on the caudal, soft dorsal & anal fins and more pointed dorsal and anal fins (vs. a black margin on P. orbicularis, and rounded dorsal and anal fins).

Species Citation

Platax batavianus Cuvier, 1831, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 7: 225. Type locality: Jakarta (as Batavia), Indonesia.

Author

Bray, D.J. 2019

Resources

Atlas of Living Australia

Humphead Batfish, Platax batavianus Cuvier 1831

References


Allen, G.R. 1985. Fishes of Western Australia. Book 9. 2207-2534 526 pls in Burgess, W.E. & Axelrod, H.R. (eds). Pacific Marine Fishes. Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications.

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Russell, B.C. 1986. Part VII Fishes. 79-103 in Berry, P.F. (ed.). Faunal Surveys of the Rowley Shoals, Scott Reef and Seringapatam Reef, northwestern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 25: 1-106.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Blaber, S.J.M., Brewer, D.T. & Harris, A.N. 1994. Distribution, biomass and community structure of demersal fishes of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 45(3): 375-396.

Coleman, N. 1981. Australian Sea Fishes North of 30°S. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 297 pp.

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1831. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 7 531 pp. pls 170-208.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp.

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp.

Heemstra, P.C. 2001. Ephippidae. pp. 3611-3622 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Hutchins, J.B. 2003. Checklist of marine fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. pp. 453-478 in Wells, F.E., Walker, D.I., & Jones, D.S. (eds). Proceedings of the Eleventh International Marine Biological Workshop: The Marine Flora and Fauna of Dampier, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Johnson, J.W. & Gill, A.C. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of Sweers Island, Gulf of Carpentaria. Gulf of Carpentaria Scientific Study Report. Geography Monograph Series. Brisbane: Royal Geographic Society of Queensland. pp. 239-260.

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls.

Kuiter, R.H. & Debelius, H. 2001. Surgeonfishes, Rabbitfishes and Their Relatives. A comprehensive guide to Acanthuroidei. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 208 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. & T. Tonozuka. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 3. Jawfishes - Sunfishes, Opistognathidae - Molidae. Zoonetics, Australia. p. 623-893.

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Russell, B.C., Larson, H.K., Hutchins, J.B. & Allen, G.R. 2005. Reef fishes of the Sahul Shelf. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory Supplement 1 2005: 83-105.

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84.

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37362002

Depth:5-40 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:65 cm SL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map