Black Bream, Acanthopagrus butcheri (Munro 1949)


Other Names: Blue Nose Bream, Blue-nose Bream, Blue-nosed Bream, Gippsland Bream, Golden Bream, Perth Bream, Silver Bream, Southern Black Bream, Southern Bream, Yellow-fin Bream

A Black Bream, Acanthopagrus butcheri, at Kingston, Hobart, Tasmania, October 2016. Source: lachlanf / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Summary:

This popular commercial and angling fish is completely dependent on estuaries. Black Bream are usually silvery olive to golden brown on the back and sides, with greenish reflections when fresh, white below. The fins are dusky, with the caudal fin often a dusky olive brown, although juveniles may have yellowish fins. Mature fish over 1 kg in weight often develop a bluish tinge on the snout.

Black Bream may be difficult to separate from Yellowfin Bream, Acanthopagrus australis, with which they hybridise. Yellowfin Bream usually have yellowish pelvic and anal fins, rather than the brownish to dusky fins of Black Bream.


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F. 2018, Acanthopagrus butcheri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Nov 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/674

Black Bream, Acanthopagrus butcheri (Munro 1949)

More Info


Distribution

Endemic to southern Australia, in rivers rivers and estuaries from Ulladulla, New South Wales, to Shark Bay, Western Australia, and thourhgout coastal rivers of Tasmania, and Flinders and Kangaroo Islands.

Although Black Bream occasionally occur in coastal marine waters (in the South Australian gulfs and following flooding in the west), the entire life cycle is completed within estuaries and coastal lakes. The species also occurs in land-locked saline habitats in south-western Australia.

Adults usually prefer deep pools with woody debris and overhanging banks, whereas juveniles inhabit shallower areas, and often shelter amongst seagrass.

Black Bream are highly mobile and move freely within an estuary depending on the water conditions. While they can tolerate very high salinities, they usually migrate upstream during drier times, and move downstream when rains bring freshwater into the estuaries.

Features

Dorsal fin X-XII, 10-13; Anal fin III, 8-10; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 14-16; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line 44-56.

Body depth 22–53% SL; dorsal profile of head slightly convex; mouth reaching to below anterior portion of eyes; 4½–5½ scales between 4th dorsal‑fin spine and lateral line. 

Colour

Golden brown to bronze above, white below, head bluish anteriorly; dorsal-fin spines brown, membranes greyish, margin blackish; anal and pelvic fins whitish; caudal fin brownish with black margin; pectoral fins brownish with black spot at upper end of base.

Feeding

Feeds on a wide range of prey including polychaete worms, molluscs, small crustaceans, insect larvae and bony fishes; also consume macrophytic algae.

Black Bream use their peg-like teeth to prize sessile invertebrates such as mussels, barnacles, and polychaete worms from rocks, pylons and piers.

Biology

Black bream are well adapted to an estuarine life where salinities range from freshwater to extremely salty (hypersaline).

Black Bream are hermaphrodites. Juveniles have both immature ovaries and testes. They mature into either males or females after two to three years, usually between 15-20 cm.

Spawning occurs during Spring and Summer, usually at the boundary between fresh and brackish water - at the ‘saltwater wedge’ where the less dense freshwater from rivers and streams is found over the more dense saltier water from the ocean. Females spawn a number of times during the breeding season.

The larvae hatch from pelagic eggs after 2-3 days. They remain in the plankton for about four weeks, and settle out in the upper reaches of estuaries at about 10 mm in length. 

Fisheries

A very popular and important recreational and commercial target species due to its high quality flesh.

Similar Species

It is often very difficult to separate this species from Acanthopagrus australis, and the two species are known to hybridize in Victoria.

Species Citation

Mylio butcheri Munro, 1949, Mem. Qld Mus. 12(4): 191, pl. 17, 22(2), 23(2). Type locality: Gippsland Lakes, VIC.

Author

Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F. 2018

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Black Bream, Acanthopagrus butcheri (Munro 1949)

References


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Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37353003

Biology:Hermaphrodite

Depth:0-30 m

Fishing:Important recreational & commercial fish

Habitat:Estuaries

Max Size:60 cm TL, 4 kg

Native:Endemic

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