Leopard Wirrah, Acanthistius pardalotus Hutchins 1981

Other Names: Leopard Perch

A Leopard Wirrah, Acanthistius pardalotus, Rottnest Island, Western Australia, March 2017. Source: Alex Hoschke / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale greyish-green rockcod with a leopard-like pattern of dark spots, blotches and lines that become more complex with age (spots on fins somewhat paler), greyish-blue unspotted fin margins, and usually 2-3 dark narrow bars radiating from the rear half of eye.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Acanthistius pardalotus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 10 Dec 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/1726

Leopard Wirrah, Acanthistius pardalotus Hutchins 1981

More Info


Recorded from Cape Leeuwin to Coral Bay, Western Australia. Juveniles inhabit shallow coastal reefs, including tidepools, Adults occur on deeper reefs at depths to 34 m, often sheltering in caves during the day.


Dorsal fin XIII, 14-15; Anal fin Ill, 8; Pectoral fin 17-18; Lateral line pores to caudal-fin base 50-56; Vertical scale rows from upper origin of gill opening to base of caudal fin 99-106; scales in diagonal row from upper origin of gill opening to base of first dorsal spine 20-26; scales in diagonal row from origin of first anal spine to lateral line 48-60; Gill rakers (including rudiments) on lower half of first gill arch 11-13.
Scales relatively large,

Similar Species

The Leopard Wirrah differs from  the Western Wirrah, Acanthistius serratus, which also occurs in Western Australia, in having fewer vertical scale rows above the lateral line (99-105 vs. 110-137 in A. serratus), and stronger serrations on the scales producing a coarser feel than that of A. serratus.


The specific name is from the Greek pardalotus (= spotted like a leopard) in reference to the characteristic colour pattern of this species.

Species Citation

Acanthistius pardalotus Hutchins, 1981, Rec. W. Aust. Mus. 8(4): 493, Figs. 1B, 2. Type locality: rock pool at mouth of Murchison River, Kalbarri, 27°42'S, 114°12'E, Western Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Leopard Wirrah, Acanthistius pardalotus Hutchins 1981


Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services.

Hutchins, J.B. 1981. Description of a new species of serranid fish from Western Australia, with a key to the Australian species of Acanthistius. Records of the Western Australian Museum 8(4): 491-499. See ref online

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6

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

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs.

Kuiter, R.H. 2004. Basslets, Hamlets and their relatives. A comprehensive guide to selected Serranidae and Plesiopidae. Chorleywood, UK : TMC Publishing 1, 216 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311132

Depth:0-34 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:37 cm SL


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