Banded Morwong, Cheilodactylus spectabilis Hutton 1872

Other Names: Brown Banded Morwong, Brown-banded Morwong, Carp, Nanua, Red Moki

A Banded Morwong, Cheilodactylus spectabilis, at St Helens, Tasmania. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution

A large silvery to pale brown morwong with 7-8 evenly spaced, broad, reddish-brown to almost black bands on sides, the first 3–4 angled forwards, subsequent bands nearly vertical; fins with nearly black margins.
Video of Banded Morwongs at Goat Island, northern New Zealand.
Video of Banded Morwongs - again in northern New Zealand

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Cheilodactylus spectabilis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 Mar 2019,

Banded Morwong, Cheilodactylus spectabilis Hutton 1872

More Info


Known in Australia, from about Seal Rocks, New South Wales, to Robe, South Australia, and around Tasmania. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Zealand. The Banded Morwong is most abundant around Tasmania and in New Zealand. 

The species is most frequently seen around exposed rocky reefs and occasionally near kelp patches, usually at greater depths in the northern part of its range than in the south. Banded Morwongs geenrally occur in deeper waters in the northern part of their range.


Carnivore - feeds on a range of benthic invertebrates, including gastropod and bivalve molluscs, crustaceans, polychaete worms and small sea urchins. By feeding on very small sea urchins, the Banded Morwong may play a role in preventing urchin barrens.


Like other morwongs, the Banded Morwong is rarely taken by hook and line. 


The specific name spectabilis is from Latin meaning 'notable' or 'showy' in reference to the striking colour pattern.

Species Citation

Chilodactylus spectabilis Hutton, 1872, Fish. N. Z. Catalogue: 8. Type locality: Cook Strait, New Zealand


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Banded Morwong, Cheilodactylus spectabilis Hutton 1872


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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 1878. On some new Australian (chiefly) freshwater fishes. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 3(2): 140-144 (as Cheilodactylus rubrofasciatus)

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Hutton, F.W. 1872. Catalogue with diagnoses of the species. 1-88 pls 1-12 in Hutton, F.W. & Hector, J. (eds). Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Colonial Museum and Geological Survey Department.

Klunzinger, C.B. 1872. Zur Fische-fauna von Süd Australien. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 38(1): 17-47 pl. 2 (as Chilodactylus asper)

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37377006

Depth:0-50 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:100 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map