Zigzag Ponyfish, Photolateralis moretoniensis (Ogilby 1912)

Other Names: Black-banded Pony-fish, Moreton Bay Ponyfish, Zig-zag Ponyfish, Zig-zag-ponyfish

A Zigzag Ponyfish, Photolateralis moretoniensis, in Chowder Bay, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, May 2022. Source: John Sear / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

This species is now called Photolateralis moretoniensis. The genus Photolateralis is unique among ponyfishes in possessing a translucent mid-lateral flank stripe, which in the Zigzag Ponyfish is a composite “stripe” comprised of numerous independent translucent windows. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Photolateralis moretoniensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/2217

Zigzag Ponyfish, Photolateralis moretoniensis (Ogilby 1912)

More Info


Shark Bay, Western Australia, around the tropical north to Port Hacking, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Indo-west Pacific. Forms schools in soft sediment habitats on the continental slope.


Males have a moderately enlarged, donut-shaped and conspicuously spotted light organ that extends only slightly posteriorly into the gas bladder.


The specific name refers to the type locality: Moreton Bay, Queensland.

Species Citation

Leiognathus moretoniensis Ogilby, 1912, Mem. Qld Mus. 1: 59. Type locality: Moreton Bay, Queensland.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Zigzag Ponyfish, Photolateralis moretoniensis (Ogilby 1912)


Blaber, S.J.M., Brewer, D.T. & Harris, A.N. 1994. Distribution, biomass and community structure of demersal fishes of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 45(3): 375-396, https://doi.org/10.1071/MF9940375(as Leiognathus moretoniensis)

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. (as Leiognathus moretoniensis)

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) (as Equulites moretoniensis)

Jones, G. 1985. Revision of the Australian species of the fish family Leiognathidae. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 36: 559-613 figs 1-19 (as Leiognathus moretoniensis)

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp. (p. 359, as Leiognathus moretoniensis)

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, https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3696.1.1

Kimura, S., Motomura, H. & Iwatsuki, Y. 2008. Equulites Fowler 1904, a senior synonym of Photoplagios Sparks, Dunlap, and Smith 2005 (Perciformes: Leiognathidae). Ichthyological Research 55(2): 204-205, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10228-008-0041-6 (as Equulites moretoniensis)  

Ogilby, J. D. 1912. On some Queensland fishes. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 1: 26-65, Pls. 12-14. See ref at BHL

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. (as Leiognathus moretoniensis)

Sparks, J.S. & Chakrabarty, P. 2015: Description of a new genus of ponyfishes (Teleostei: Leiognathidae), with a review of the current generic-level composition of the family. Zootaxa 3947(2): 181-190, http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3947.2.2

Sparks, J.S., Dunlap, P.V. & Smith, W.L.  2005. Evolution and diversification of a sexually dimorphic luminescent system in ponyfishes (Teleostei: Leiognathidae), including diagnoses of two new genera. Cladistics 21: 305-327, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-0031.2005.00067.x (as Photoplagios moretoniensis)

Woodland, D.J., Premcharoen, S. & Cabanban, A.S. 2001. Leiognathidae. pp. 2792-2823 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp. (as Leiognathus moretoniensis)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37341012


Depth:10-105 m

Habitat:Soft bottoms

Max Size:13 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map