Bearded Velvetfish, Paraploactis intonsa Poss & Eschmeyer 1978

A Bearded Velvetfish, Paraploactis intonsa, on Elizabeth Reef, South Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Western Australia. Source: wparkinson / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A greyish or purplish-brown or orange velvetfish mottled with grey, pink, orange or brown, with darker bands or blotches on the fins, papillae and prickles covering the underside of the lower jaw, a steep forehead, and the dorsal fin beginning above the eye.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Paraploactis intonsa in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Feb 2023,

Bearded Velvetfish, Paraploactis intonsa Poss & Eschmeyer 1978

More Info


Endemic to Western Australia from the Perth region north to Shark Bay. Inhabits sandy and silty areas in depths to 24 m.


Dorsal fin XIV-XV, 9-11; Anal fin I, 9-10; Pectoral fin 14; Vertebrae 27-28; Gill rakers 0-2 + 6-8 = 6-9, all rakers very short; Lateral line scales 12-15.
Fleshy pad on isthmus about 1/4 to 1/3 as wide as long. Snout with numerous cirri. Lachrymal bone (infraorbital 1) with three spines, anteriormost small, posterior two larger, with points moderately divergent. Ventral surface of lower jaw with numerous villi and papillose cirri, 8-11 cirri in row along outer margin, 4-8 cirri in row along inner margin; fourth left cirrus (outer row) with 1-11 papillae. Cushion-like pad on isthmus about 1/4 to 1/3 as wide as long. Band of papillose cirri across tip of snout and lachrymal bones. Papillose cirri over nasal bones, lower preopercular spines, pectoral fin, and dorsal spines; very large cirri on first three dorsal spines. 


Well camouflaged and variably coloured to match surroundings: greyish with darker mottling; purplish-brown with pink or orange blotches; mostly orange with grey blotches, or with some pink blotches below eye.


The specific name is from the Latin "intonsa", meaning bearded or unshaven, in reference to the numerous cirri on the lower jaw and snout which give the face a somewhat shaggy appearance. 

Species Citation

Paraploactis intonsa Poss & Eschmeyer 1978, Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 41(18): 414, figs 2, 9. Type locality: Shark Bay, Western Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Australian Faunal Directory

Bearded Velvetfish, Paraploactis intonsa Poss & Eschmeyer 1978


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Mees, G.F. 1960. Additions to the fish fauna of Western Australia. 2. Western Australian Fisheries. Bulletin 9(2): 13-21 (misidentified as Paraploactis trachyderma)

Poss, S.G. 1999. Families Scorpaenidae, Caracanthidae, Aploactinidae. pp. 2291-2358 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 pp. 2069-2790. 

Poss, S.G. & Eschmeyer, W.N. 1978. Two new Australian velvetfishes, genus Paraploactis (Scorpaeniformes : Aploactinidae) with a revision of the genus and comments on the genera and species of the Aploactinidae. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 41(18): 401-426 figs 1-14 See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37290010

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:7-24 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max weight:16 cm TL


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