Sand Whiting, Sillago ciliata Cuvier 1829

Other Names: Blue Nose Whiting, Bluenose Whiting, Blue-nose Whiting, Sand Sillago, Silver Whiting, Summer Whiting

A Sand Whiting, Sillago ciliata, between Shelly Beach and Fairy Bower, Manly, New South Wales, May 2017. Source: Erik Schlogl / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A uniformly silvery species with a dark blotch on the pectoral-fin base, especially in juveniles, and yellow anal and pelvic fins. Adults lack bars and blotches, although they may become mottled at night.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Sillago ciliata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jun 2024,

Sand Whiting, Sillago ciliata Cuvier 1829

More Info


Northern Cape York, Queensland, to northern Tasmania, and eastern Victoria; also the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia. 
Inhabits sandy areas in coastal bays, rivers, estuaries and coastal lakes. Large schools are often seen in the surf zone, on sand banks and near the mouths of rivers. Adults often form schools off estuary mouths. Individuals may bury themselves in sand to avoid predators.


Dorsal spines XI + I,16-18; Anal fin II,15-17; Vertebrae 32-34. 
Anterior part of the swim bladder with rudimentary tubules projecting anteriorly and a series laterally that diminish in size and become sawtooth-like posteriorly. 


Sand Whiting use their conical snouts to forage in the substrate to search for benthic invertebrates such as crustaceans, bivalve molluscs and polychaete worms.


An important commercial species and a highly prized angling fish weighing up to 1.25 kg.

Similar Species

The similar Yellowfin Whiting, Sillago schomburgkii, lacks the dark blotch on the pectoral-fin base.


The specific name is from the Latin  (= ciliate) in reference to the finely serrated (ciliated) edge of the preoperculum.

Species Citation

Sillago ciliata Cuvier, in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1829, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons Vol. 3: 415. Type locality: Southern Seas (probably Tasmania)


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Sand Whiting, Sillago ciliata Cuvier 1829


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Burchmore, J.J., Pollard, D.A., Middleton, M.J., Bell, J.D. & Pease, B.C. 1988. Biology of four species of whiting (Pisces: Sillaginidae) in Botany Bay, New South Wales. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 39(6): 709-727.

Butcher, A., Mayer, D., Willett, D., Johnston, M. & Smallwood, D. 2003. Scale pattern analysis is preferable to OTC marking of otoliths for differentiating between stocked and wild dusky flathead, Platycephalus fuscus, and sand whiting, Sillago ciliata. Fisheries Management and Ecology 10: 163–172.

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37330010

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-40 m

Fishing:Recreational fish

Habitat:Estuaries, coastal sandy areas

Max Size:55 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map