Patchwork Velvetfish, Cocotropus microps Johnson 2004

A Patchwork Velvetfish, Cocotropus microps, at Clifton Gardens, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, March 2020. Source: stephencoutts / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A brownish to pale greyish velvetfish with a highly variable colour pattern - often with a mottled or variegated pattern on the body and fins. Juveniles may have chalky-white blotches randomly distributed on the body.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Cocotropus microps in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Feb 2023,

Patchwork Velvetfish, Cocotropus microps Johnson 2004

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Endemic to eastern Australia, from Southport, Queensland, to Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, at depths from the intertidal to 15 m.


Dorsal fin XII, 7; Anal fin II, 5; Pectoral fin 10–11; Pelvic fin I, 3; Caudal fin 16–17; Vertebrae 24.

Dorsal profile of head slightly concave overall between snout tip and dorsal-fin base. Lachrymal large, movable, with two short knob-like spines ventrally, followed by large blunt spine directed posteriorly and reaching almost to vertical from rear margin of eye. Preopercle with 4 robust blunt spines, decreasing in length from dorsal-most spine, all spines densely covered in well-developed knobby prickles.Fin rays all unbranched; dorsal fin with anterior, middle and posterior portions notably elevated, first interspace moderately scalloped, second deeply notched; dorsal fin membrane connected posteriorly to caudal peduncle; head, body and fins densely covered with scales, modified to form velvety prickles; a small fleshy extension on the anterior of the isthmus; frontal ridges parallel on interorbital.


Holotype dark greyish brown on head and body, with prominent mottled patchwork of yellowish cream on body. Dorsal fin with splotches of dark greyish brown on mainly yellowish cream background, with darker areas mainly centred on elevated portions of fin, and pale areas containing some fine dark flecking. Anal fin not mottled, darker brown than remainder of body, tips of rays paler than remainder of fin. Pelvic fins light brown, with membranes slightly darker than rays. Pectoral fins mostly light brown, but with broad dusky marginal band, and narrow pale edge, including tips of individual rays. Caudal fin with similar pattern to dorsal, but with distal half of fin containing all the mottling and basal half uniformly pale. One paratype (18 mm juvenile) uniformly dusky, except for individual small pale blotches at anus, inner and outer pectoral bases, and pectoral and caudal fins. Another paratype (24 mm juvenile) similarly dusky, caudal fin with two pale blotches at its margin, but with only four very small, more inconspicuous individual white spots situated dorsally on inner pectoral fin bases, just above centre of lateral line on right side, and on anus (Johnson 2004).

Similar Species

Cocotropus microps differs from other species in the genus in having fewer dorsal and anal-fin ray counts (XII, 7 versus XII–XV, 8–11 and II, 5 versus I–II, 6–9 respectively); dorsal fin with three distinctly elevated sections, at the front, centre and rear portions of the fin; and in coloration that includes at least several small pale irregular spots or larger blotches.


The specific name microps is from Greek (= small eye), in reference to the small, inconspicuous eyes of this species.

Species Citation

Cocotropus microps Johnson 2004. Rec. Aust. Mus. 56(2): 184, figs 3c, 3d. Type locality: Southport seawall, about 150 m west of entrance, 27°56'S, 153°26'E, Queensland, Australia, depth 2-4 m. 


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Patchwork Velvetfish, Cocotropus microps Johnson 2004


Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762 (as Cocotropus sp.)

Johnson, J.W. 2004. Two new species and two new records of aploactinid fishes (Pisces: Scorpaeniformes) from Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 56(2): 179-188. DOI: 10.3853/j.0067-1975.56.2004.1421

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37290016

Depth:0-15 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:4 cm SL


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