Western Wirrah, Acanthistius serratus (Cuvier 1828)

A Western Wirrah, Acanthistius serratus, at Rottnest Island, Western Australia. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A pale greenish-brown rockcod with darker irregular bands and blotches or small dark spots, two broad bars behind the eye, a dark bar on the snout, and dark grey fins. Juveniles are either unspotted, or only have a few spots on the upper sides, and have prominent bars behind the eye.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Acanthistius serratus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 10 Dec 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/4406

Western Wirrah, Acanthistius serratus (Cuvier 1828)

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Ceduna, South Australia, to Shark Bay, Western Australia. A common but shy reef dweller that often shelters in caves. Juveniles inhabit shallow coastal waters, including tide pools.


Not considered a good table fish.


The specific name is from the Latin serratus (= saw-shaped, serrated) in reference to the strongly serrated operculum of this species.

Species Citation

Plectropoma serratum Cuvier, 1828, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 2: 399. Type locality: King George Sound, Western Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Western Wirrah, Acanthistius serratus (Cuvier 1828)


Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1828. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 2 xxi, 2 + 490 pp., pls 9-40. See ref at BHL

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services.

Hutchins, J.B. 1981. Description of a new species of serranid fish from Western Australia, with a key to the Australian species of Acanthistius. Records of the Western Australian Museum 8(4): 491-499 figs 1-2 See ref online

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs.

Kuiter, R.H. 1994. Families Serranidae, Callanthiidae. pp. 528-548 figs 469-485 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.

Kuiter, R.H. 2004. Basslets, Hamlets and their relatives. A comprehensive guide to selected Serranidae and Plesiopidae. Chorleywood, UK : TMC Publishing 1, 216 pp.

Neira, F.J., A.G. Miskiewicz & T. Trnski. 1998. Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: laboratory guide for larval fish identification. University of Western Australia Press. 474 pp.

Smallwood, C.B., Tate, A. & Ryan, K.L. 2017. Weight-length summaries for Western Australian fish species derived from surveys of recreational fishers at boat ramps. Fisheries Research Report No. 278, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia. 151pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311035

Depth:0-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:50 cm TL


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