Red Morwong, Cheilodactylus fuscus Castelnau 1879

Other Names: Sea Carp

A Red Morwong, Cheilodactylus fuscus, at Fairy Bower, Manly, New South Wales, January 2017. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike


A large temperate rocky reef fish with the following identifying features: pinkish to red on the upper half of the head and body, and silvery white below, with pale vertical markings on the rear of the body, and silvery white stripes running from the snout, over the eye to beyond the gill cover.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Cheilodactylus fuscus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 Mar 2019,

Red Morwong, Cheilodactylus fuscus Castelnau 1879

More Info


Hervey Bay, QLD (25°06'S) to Mallacoota, VIC (37°34'S) and Lord Howe Island. Elsewhere in New Zealand.









Similar Species


Species Citation

Cheilodactylus fuscus Castelnau, 1879, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 1 3(4): 376. Type locality: Sydney, NSW.


Dianne J. Bray


Red Morwong, Cheilodactylus fuscus Castelnau 1879


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Allen, G.R. & Heemstra, P.C. 1976. Cheilodactylus rubrolabiatus, a new species of morwong (Pisces : Cheilodactylidae) from Western Australia, with a key to the cheilodactylid fishes of Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 4(4): 311-325 figs 1-2

Ayling, T. & Cox, G.J. 1982. Collins Guide to the Seafishes of New Zealand. Auckland : Collins 343 pp. 48 pls 475 figs.

Castelnau, F.L. de 1879. Essay on the ichthyology of Port Jackson. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 3(4): 347-402.

Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2, 624 pp.

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2.

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

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

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)

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

Kuiter, R.H. 1994. Family Cheilodactylidae. pp. 644-655, figs 566-574 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.

Lincoln Smith MP, Bell JD, Pollard DA, Russell BC (1989) Catch and effort of competition spearfishers in southeastern Australia. Fish Res 8: 45–61

Lockett, M.M. & I.M. Suthers. 1998. Ontogenetic diet shift and feeding activity in the temperate reef fish Cheilodactylus fuscus. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 120: 105-116.

Lowry, M. 2003. Age and growth of Cheilodactylus fuscus, a temperate rocky reef fish. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 37(1): 159-170.

Lowry, M. & Cappo, M. 1999. Morwongs. pp. 172-179 in Andrew, N. (ed.). Under Southern Seas - The ecology of Australia's rocky reefs. Sydney : University of New South Wales Press 238 pp.

Lowry, M.B. & Suthers, I. M. 1998. Home range, activity and distribution patterns of a temperate rocky-reef fish, Cheilodactylus fuscus. Marine Biology 132(4): 569-578.

Lowry, M. & I. Suthers. 2004. Population structure of aggregations, and response to spear fishing, of a large temperate reef fish Cheilodactylus fuscus. Marine Ecology Progress Series 273: 199-210

McLean, C., A.G. Miskiewicz & E.A. Roberts. 1991. Effect of three primary treatment sewage outfalls on metal concentrations in the fish Cheilodactylus fuscus collected along the coast of Sydney, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 22(3): 134–140.

Randall, J.E. 2001. Cirrhitidae, Cheilodactylidae. pp. 3321-3330 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

Roberts, C.D. & Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Cheilodactylidae and Latridae. pp. 624-632 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Schroeder A, Lowry M, Suthers I (1994) Sexual dimorphism in the red morwong (Cheilodactylus fuscus). Aust J Freshw Res 45: 1173–1180.

Whitley, G.P. 1957. Ichthyological Illustrations. Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 1955–56: 56-71, figs 1-12

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37377009

Depth:0-30 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:65 cm

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