King George Whiting, Sillaginodes punctatus (Cuvier 1829)

Other Names: Australian Whiting, Black Whiting, KG, KGW, Pussies, South Australian Whiting, Spotted Sillago, Spotted Whiting

A King George Whiting, Sillaginodes punctatus, in Port Phillip, Victoria, February 2008. Source: Julian K. Finn / Museum Victoria. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale golden-brown to greenish whiting becoming silvery-white below, with small rusty-brown spots and wavy lines along the upper side. The King George Whiting is the largest known whiting species, and is a highly prized table fish.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Sillaginodes punctatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

King George Whiting, Sillaginodes punctatus (Cuvier 1829)

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Endemic to the southern half of Australia from Sydney (New South Wales) to north of Rottnest Island, and perhaps to Jurien Bay (Western Australia), including northern Tasmania.
Inhabits bays, estuaries and coastal areas with seagrass, macroalgae or sand in depths to 200 m. While juveniles are abundant in seagrass beds, adults prefer deeper channels, gutters and offshore areas. At night, they may also feed in the shallows on the high tide.


Dorsal fin  XII-XIII +  I, 25-27; Anal fin II, 21-24; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 15-16; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 129-147.
Body long, slender, covered in very small scales; snout long, pointed; dorsal fin in two barely separated parts; pectoral and pelvic fins small. 


Maximum length 72 cm, commonly to 35 cm TL; max weight almost 5 kg. King George Whiting live to about 15 years.


Whitings have almost conical snouts, a small terminal mouth and somewhat protrusible jaws. They feed by sucking up small invertebrates such as crustaceans, polychaete worms, molluscs and peanut worms from the substrate.


The sexes are separate and adults spawn in offshore waters during the late autumn and winter. King George Whiting have a long pelagic larval phase of 80-170 days. The larvae grow to 15-20 cm before settling out in shallow macrophyte algal beds in bays and estuaries.


King George Whiting are an important and highly regarded commercial and recreational species. A commercial fishery in South Australia occurs from Gulf St Vincent to Ceduna. In Victoria, the species is commercially fished in Port Phillip Bay and Corner Inlet. King George Whiting are also taken in southwest Western Australia. 

The King George Whiting is the most popular recreational fish in South Australia, and rivals snapper for popularity in Victoria. Size limits, bag and boat limits regulate these recreational fisheries in South Australia and Victoria.



Although King George Whiting is the largest fin-fishery in Victoria, research suggests that the Victorian fish stocks may originate from fish that spawn in northern Tasmania.

Similar Species


The specific name punctatus is from the Latin punctatus (= spotted), presumably in reference to the numerous brownish spots above the lateral line of this species.

Species Citation

Sillago punctata Cuvier, 1829, Hist. Nat. Poiss.: 413. Type locality: King George Sound, Western Australia (as Port King George).


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

King George Whiting, Sillaginodes punctatus (Cuvier 1829)


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Jenkins, G.P., Welsford, D.C., Keough, M.J. & Hamer, P.A. 1998. Diurnal and tidal vertical migration of  pre-settlement King George whiting Sillaginodes punctata in relation to feeding and vertical distribution of  prey in a temperate bay. Marine Ecology Progress Series 170: 239-248.

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37330001

Depth:0-200 m

Fishing:Popular sports & table fish

Habitat:Seagrass, sandy areas

Max Size:72cm TL; commonly 35cm


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CAAB distribution map