Harrowed Sole, Zebrias cancellatus (McCulloch 1916)

A Harrowed Sole, Zebrias cancellatus, at Fremantle, Western Australia, October 2018. Source: jmartincrossley / iNaturalist.org. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A sandy-colored sole with 11-19 evenly spaced dark brown bands (sometimes divided) across the body extending onto the dorsal and anal fins, several large darker spots irregularly placed on the bands, and a mostly dark caudal fin. The blind side is whitish with dark dorsal, anal and caudal fin rays.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Zebrias cancellatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 01 Mar 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/2182

Harrowed Sole, Zebrias cancellatus (McCulloch 1916)

More Info


Endemic to Western Australia, from Albany to the Northwest Shelf.


Dorsal fin 76-81; Anal fin 68-71; Caudal fin 18; Pectoral fin 8-9; Pelvic fin 4; Lateral-line scales 127-144.  
Body moderately deep (34-36% SL), extremely compressed, of moderate length. Head small (13-16% SL); eyes on right side of head, small (18-27% HL), separated by narrow scaly space; snout elongated downward in front of mouth;  mouth small (upper jaw 20-27% HL), strongly curved; teeth tiny, in broad band only on blind side of each jaw; forward portion of snout and chin on both sides covered with tiny papillae, reaching posteriorly only slightly past mouth on blind side, opercular margin edged with cirri only on blind side. 
Scales extremely small, ctenoid on both sides, rather firmly attached, covering all of head not covered by papillae; lateral line on both sides of body, nearly straight along centres of sides, curving upwards and forwards from back to front of head.
Dorsal, anal and caudal fins broadly interconnected by membranes; dorsal fin arising above anterior rim of upper eye, without elongate anterior rays; caudal fin rounded. Pectoral fins very small, connected to opercular membranes, both of similar size and form. Pelvic fins with short bases, originating near anterior extent of chest, not attached to anal fin.


To 24 cm SL


Eyed side sandy-coloured with 11-19 evenly spaced dark brown bands extending onto the dorsal and anal fins; several large darker spots irregularly placed on bands; caudal fin mostly dark; blind side whitish with dark dorsal, anal and caudal fin rays.


Occasionally taken as by-catch in commercial trawls.


This species is one of the largest banded soles.

Species Citation

Synaptura cancellata McCulloch 1916, Mem. Qld Mus. 5: 60, pl.8 (fig.1). Type locality: near Fremantle, WA. 


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Harrowed Sole, Zebrias cancellatus (McCulloch 1916)


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

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. (as Strabozebrias cancellatus)

Chabanaud, P. 1943. Notules Ichthyologiques (Sixième series 20–22). Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris [published 1907-1971] 2 15: 289-293 (as Strabozebrias cancellatus)

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. 

Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Soleidae. pp. 860-865, figs 761-763 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. 

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Soleidae. pp. 817-821 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

McCulloch, A.R. 1916. Ichthyological items. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 5: 58-69 figs 1-4 pls 7-9 

Munroe, T.A. 2001. Soleidae, Cynoglossidae. pp. 3878-3901 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. 6 pp. 3381-4218. (as Strabozebrias cancellatus)

Norman, J.R. 1926. A report on the flatfishes (Heterosomata) collected by the F.I.S. Endeavour, with a synopsis of the flatfishes of Australia and a revision of the subfamily Rhombosoleinae. Biological Results of the Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavour 1909-1914 5(5): 219-308 figs 1-15 (as Brachirus cancellatus)

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. (as Strabozebrias cancellatus)

Seigel, J.A. & Adamson, T.A. 1985. First record of the genus Zebrias (Pisces: Pleuronectiformes: Soleidae) from the Philippine Islands, with the description of a new species. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 98(1): 13-16 fig. 1 

Whitley, G.P. 1964. A survey of Australian Ichthyology. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 89(1): 11-127 (as Strabozebrias cancellatus)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37462006

Depth:15-40 m

Habitat:Soft bottom areas

Max Size:27 cm TL


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