Freckled Hardyhead, Craterocephalus lentiginosus Ivantsoff, Crowley & Allen 1987

Other Names: Jinbirri, Jinpirr, Karlanyjarr, Prince Regent Hardyhead, Thinbidi

Freckled Hardyhead, Craterocephalus lentiginosus. Source: David Morgan & Simon Visser / Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit, Murdoch University. License: All rights reserved


A dusky golden brown to greenish hardyhead becoming 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.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2022, Craterocephalus lentiginosus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jul 2024,

Freckled Hardyhead, Craterocephalus lentiginosus Ivantsoff, Crowley & Allen 1987

More Info


Widespread across the Kimberley region, Western Australia, and western Northern Territory. Inhabits clear still or flowing freshwater streams over sandy, muddy or rocky substrates. Also occurs 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.


IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Least Concern.


The Aboringinal names (for four languages) for this species in the Fitzroy River include: 
Bunuba language: Jinbirri
Gooniyandi language: Thinbidi
Nyikina language: Karlanyjarr
Walmajarri language: Jinpirr

Similar Species

Differs from the similar to C. stercusmuscarum 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).


Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Freckled Hardyhead, Craterocephalus lentiginosus Ivantsoff, Crowley & Allen 1987


Allen, G.R. 1982. Inland Fishes of Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 86 pp. 6 figs 20 pls. (as Craterocephalus species B.)

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

Allen, G.R. & Leggett, R. 1990. A collection of freshwater fishes from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 14(4): 527-545 See ref online

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

Crowley, L.E.L.M. & Ivantsoff, W. 1992. Redefinition of the freshwater fish genus Craterocephalus (Teleostei: Atherinidae) of Australia and New Guinea with an analysis of three species. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 3(3): 273-287.

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. Records of the Western Australian Museum 13(2): 171–188. See ref online

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

Moore, G. 2019. Craterocephalus lentiginosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T5495A123377749. Accessed on 03 August 2022.

Morgan, D.L. 2010. Fishes of the King Edward River in the Kimberley region, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 25: 351–368

Morgan, D.L., Allen, M.G., Bedford, P. & Horstman, M. 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. See ref online

Morgan, D.L., Allen, G.R., Pusey, B.J. & Burrows, D.W. 2011. A review of the freshwater fishes of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Zootaxa 2816: 1-64

Shelley, J.J., Morgan, D.L., Hammer, M.P., Moore, G.I., Gomon, M.F., Allen, M.G. & Saunders, T. (eds). 2018. A field guide to the freshwater fishes of the Kimberley. Murdoch, Western Australia : Murdoch University, 262 pp.

Unmack, P.J. & Dowling, T.E. 2010. Biogeography of the genus Craterocephalus (Teleostei: Atherinidae) in Australia. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 55(3): 968-984

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37246023

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-5 m

Habitat:Freshwater streams, brackish water

Max Size:8 cm SL


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CAAB distribution map