Brownmargin Flathead, Cociella hutchinsi Knapp 1996

Other Names: Brownmargined Flathead, Brown-margined Flathead

Brownmargin Flathead, Cociella hutchinsi. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A brownish to reddish-brown flathead with a dense pattern of brown specks on the rear of the body posteriorly, sparse anteriorly, a dusky first dorsal fin with a broad submarginal brown band, dusky brown pectoral fins with a dark submarginal band, and a dusky caudal fin with a row of dark streaks forming a dark submarginal band.

Cite this page as:
CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research, Cociella hutchinsi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Nov 2023,

Brownmargin Flathead, Cociella hutchinsi Knapp 1996

More Info


Only known from the continental shelf off northern Australia in the Arafura and Timor Seas. Demersal on soft bottoms in depths of 1-110 m.


Dorsal fin I, VII-VIII, 11-12; Anal fin 11; Pectoral fin 20-23; Pelvic fin I, 5; Caudal fin 11-12; Lateral line scales (pored) 51-55.

Body elongate, moderately depressed. Head large (length 35-39% SL), moderately depressed, lower edge bicarinate; eyes large (about 21% HL), iris lappet simple, semicircular; mouth large, rear edge reaching behind front edge of eye; teeth on vomer in two separate patches, jaw teeth not depressible; usually two preopercular spines (a weak third one occasionally present), upper spine long, nearly reaching rear margin of opercle; preorbital spine slight, often absent; supraorbital ridge usually smooth anteriorly, with 7-10 small spines posteriorly; suborbital ridge with two spines below eye and 3 or 4 spines behind eye; interopercular flap absent; 6 or 7 (usually 6) gill rakers on first gill arch rudimentary.

Scales small, finely ctenoid, covering body and most of head behind eyes; lateral line scales subequal to adjacent scales on side, ~59-68 oblique rows of scales above lateral line, anterior 2-8 with weak spines, pores with a single opening.

First dorsal fin spinous with short base, first spine very short, detached, following spines much longer. Second dorsal fin with moderately long base, anterior rays longest, slightly shorter than longest first dorsal spines. Anal fin opposite and slightly longer-based than second dorsal fin. Caudal fin rear margin truncate dorsally, rounded ventrally. Pectoral fins moderate sized, posterior margin convex. Pelvic fins long, based below centre of pectoral fins, not reaching to anal-fin origin.


Maximum length at least 30 cm.


Brownish or tannish dorsally; whitish ventrally with brown specks heavily stippled posteriorly, sparse over breast. First dorsal fin dusky, with a broad submarginal brown band; second dorsal fin pale, with small brown spots on rays; anal fin white; pectoral fins dusky brown, with well-developed submarginal dark band; caudal fin dusky, typically with a row of dark streaks forming a submarginal dark band.


Presumably feeds mostly on fishes.


Taken as bycatch in commercial trawls.


The species is named in honour of ichthyologist J. Barry Hutchins of the Western Australian Museum, who provided “substantial assistance to the author’s studies of Australian flatheads”.

Species Citation

Cociella hutchinsi Knapp, 1996, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 109(1): 30, fig. 9 type locality: Arafura Sea, Australia.


CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research

Brownmargin Flathead, Cociella hutchinsi Knapp 1996


Knapp, L.W. 1996. Review of the genus Cociella Whitley (Teleostei: Platycephalidae) with the description of three new species. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 109(1): 17-33.

Knapp, L.W. 1999. Family Platycepalidae. pp. 2385-2421 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 2069-2790 pp

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293.

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. (p. 120, as Suggrundus sp. 1)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37296018

Behaviour:Benthic on soft bottoms

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:1-110 m

Max Size:30 cm TL


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