Freckled Hardyhead, Craterocephalus lentiginosus Ivantsoff, Crowley & Allen 1987

Other Names: Prince Regent Hardyhead

Freckled Hardyhead, Craterocephalus lentiginosus. Source: Gerald R. Allen. License: All rights reserved


A golden brown to greenish hardyhead, dusky above, paler below, with a silvery to golden mid-lateral stripe, a black stripe from the snout through the eye to the pectoral fin base, and a black spot on most body scales. Breeding males have a bright yellow underside.

Found only in the Kimberley region of north Western Australia.

Cite this page as:
Vanessa J. Thompson & Dianne J. Bray, Craterocephalus lentiginosus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Nov 2018,

Freckled Hardyhead, Craterocephalus lentiginosus Ivantsoff, Crowley & Allen 1987

More Info


Known only from the Roe, Fitzroy, Carson and King Edward rivers in the Kimberley region of northern Western Australia. Inhabiting clear still or flowing freshwater streams over sandy, muddy or rocky bottoms. Also found in turbid water in brackish pools on the tidal flats of the lower Fitzroy river.


Dorsal fin VI-VII + I, 7-8; Anal fin I, 8-9; Pectoral fin 11-12; Gill rakers on first arch 8-10.

Body laterally compressed, relatively elongate and slender; greatest body depth 4.8-5.1 in SL; mouth small, protrusible, gape restricted by fusion of lips; lips moderately thick; rear edge of jaw does not reach to eye; head length in SL 3.2-3.7; eye diameter in HL 3.0-3.5.

Body scales large, almost rectangular with concentric circuli anteriorly, incomplete posteriorly; vertical scale rows 28-31; horizontal scale rows 5.5-6; preopercle with 4-5 scales; opercle with scales.

Two separate dorsal fins; origin of first dorsal just behind origin of ventral fin; origin of second dorsal fin above and just behind origin of anal fin; spines of first dorsal fin weak but not extended or filamentous; caudal fin forked.


To 8 cm SL, commonly to 5.5 cm.


Golden brown to greenish overall, dusky dorsally and paler on lower sides; silvery to golden mid-lateral stripe and a black stripe from snout through eye to pectoral fin base; most scales on sides with a black spot; breeding males are bright yellow on the ventral surface.


Omnivore - likely to feed on small crustaceans, aquatic insects and algae.


Little is known of the biology of this species.


Listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Similar Species

Craterocephalus lentiginosus is most similar to C. stercusmuscarum but differs in scale and vertebrae counts.


Generic name Craterocephalus comes from the Greek meaning bowl or basin and head, possibly in reference to the strong head of species in this genus. Species is named lentiginosus, referring to the freckled or spotted appearance of this species.

Species Citation

Craterocephalus lentiginosus  Ivantsoff, Crowley & Allen, 1987, Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 13(2): 175 fig. 2. Type locality: Upper Roe River, 70-80 km upstream from the sea, Kimberley, WA (ca. 15°31'S, 125°38'E).


Vanessa J. Thompson & Dianne J. Bray

Freckled Hardyhead, Craterocephalus lentiginosus Ivantsoff, Crowley & Allen 1987


Allen, G.R. (1989). Freshwater Fishes of Australia.  Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications pp. 1–240

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. (2002). Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp. 

Ivantsoff, W., Crowley, L.E.L.M. & Allen, G.R. (1987). Descriptions of three new species and one subspecies of freshwater hardyhead (Pisces: Atherinidae: Craterocephalus) from Australia. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 13(2): 171–188. PDF Open access

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. (1984). Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management.  Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp (as Craterocephalus sp. 2)

Morgan, D.L., M.G. Allen, P. Bedford & M. Horstman. 2004. Fish fauna of the Fritzoy river in the Kimberley region of Western Australia - including the Bunuba, Gooniyandi, Ngarinyin, Nyikina and Walmajarri Aboriginal names. Records of the Western Australian Museum 22: 147-161.

Wager, R. (1996). Craterocephalus lentiginosus. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37246023

Conservation:IUCN Near Threatened

Depth:1-5 m

Habitat:Freshwater streams, brackish water

Max Size:8 cm SL


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