Diamondscale Mullet, Ellochelon vaigiensis (Quoy & Gaimard 1825)

Other Names: Diamond Scale Mullet, Diamond-scale Mullet, Diamond-scaled Mullet, Large Scale Mullet, Largescale Mullet, Large-scaled Mullet, Squaretail Mullet

Diamondscale Mullet, Ellochelon vaigiensis, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Anne Hoggett / Lizard Island Field Guide License: CC By Attribution

An olive-brown mullet with silvery sides and a whitish belly, dark scale margins forming a chequerboard pattern, a yellow tail, and a truncate or square caudal fin. Juveniles have black pectoral fins.
This species was previously referred to as Liza vaigiensis.

Video of juvenile Diamondscale Mullet in an aquarium.
More Diamondscale Mullet in an aquarium.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Ellochelon vaigiensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024,

Diamondscale Mullet, Ellochelon vaigiensis (Quoy & Gaimard 1825)

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Central coast of Western Australia and Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, around the tropical north to at least Lake Macquarie, New South Wales; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Indo-west-central Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Tuamoto Islands (French Polynesia), north to southern Japan, and south to Australia and New Caledonia. 
Inhabits coastal lagoons, marshes, estuaries, mangroves, the lower freshwater reaches of rivers, and inshore coastal waters.


Dorsal fin IV-V + 8-9; Anal fin III, 7-9; Pectoral fin 16; Longitudinal scales 25-29; Circumpeduncular scales 16.
Body robust; snout length greater than eye diameter in adults, shorter than eye diameter in juveniles; adipose eyelid poorly developed, forming narrow rim around eye; anteroventral edge of preorbital with a weak notch; scales weakly ctenoid; caudal fin truncate.


Olive-brown above, sides silvery, abdomen white or slightly pale yellow; longitudinal marks on scales forming about 6 longitudinal stripes on sides; scales also with darkened margins giving slight chequered appearance to sides. Iris with yellow patches. Caudal fin yellow. Pectoral fin completely black in small fish; lower section yellowish in adults; fins otherwise yellowish-white with dusky margins. No axillary scale visible in the pectoral fins


Feeds on phytoplankton, algae and detritus.


Spawns at sea.


Species Citation

Mugil vaigiensis Quoy & Gaimard 1825, Voyage Autour du Monde: 337, pl. 59(2). Type locality: Waigeo (as Vaigiou), Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Diamondscale Mullet, Ellochelon vaigiensis (Quoy & Gaimard 1825)


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. 

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21 (as Liza vaigiensis)

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 Liza vaigiensis)

Blaber, S.J.M., Brewer, D.T. & Salini, J.P. 1992. A checklist of the fishes of Groote Eylandt, north-western Gulf of Carpentaria. Report 218. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Laboratories 14 pp. (as Liza vaigiensis

Bleeker, P. 1854. Bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van de Kokos-eilanden. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 7: 37-48. (described as Mugil rossi)

Castelnau, F.L. de 1873. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 8. Fishes of Western Australia. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 2: 123-149. (described as Mugil occidentalis)

Castelnau, F.L. de 1875. Researches on the fishes of Australia. Intercolonial Exhibition Essays. 2. pp. 1–52 in, Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 : Official Record. Melbourne. (described as Mugil ventricosus)

Freyhof, J. & Sparks, J.S. 2017. Ellochelon vaigiensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T197054A96231220. Downloaded on 29 June 2020.

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp. (as Liza vaigiensis

Harrison, I.J. & Senou, H. 1999. Order Mugiliformes. pp. 2069-2790 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. 4 pp. 2069-2790. (as Liza vaigiensis

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S .J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands: new records, community composition and biogeographic significance. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 203–219

Hutchins, J.B. 2003. Checklist of marine fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. pp. 453-478 in Wells, F.E., Walker, D.I., & Jones, D.S. (eds) Proceedings of the Eleventh International Marine Biological Workshop: The Marine Flora and Fauna of Dampier, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum. (as Liza vaigiensis

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 Liza vaigiensis

Johnson, J.W. & Gill, A.C. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of Sweers Island, Gulf of Carpentaria. Gulf of Carpentaria Scientific Study Report. Geography Monograph Series. Brisbane: Royal Geographic Society of Queensland. pp. 239-260. (as Liza vaigiensis)  

Kottelat, M. 2013. The fishes of the inland waters of southeast Asia: a catalogue and core bibliography of the fishes known to occur in freshwaters, mangroves and estuaries. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 27: 1-663. 

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.(as Liza vaigiensis

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. (as Liza vaigiensis

Marshall, T.C. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Waters of Queensland. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 566 pp. 136 pls.(as Liza vaigiensis

Quoy, J.R.C. & Gaimard, J.P. 1825. Chapter 9. Poissons. pp. 329-401 pls 43-65 in Freycinet, L.C.D. de (ed.) Voyage Autour du Monde, entrepris par orde du Roi, sous le Ministère et conformément aux instructions de S. Exc. M. le Vicomte de Boucharge, secrétaire d'État au Département de la Marine exécuté sur les corvettes de S.M. l'Uranie et la Physicienne, pendent les années 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820; publié sous les auspices de S.E.M. le Conte Corbière, secrétaire d'État de l'Intérieur, pour la partie historique et les sciences naturelles, et de S.E.M. le Marquis de Clermont-Tonnerre, Secrétaire d'État de la Marine et des Colonies, pour la partie nautique; par M. Louis Freycinet, etc. Paris : Pillet Aîné Vol. 1 + atlas iv 712 pp. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.(as Liza vaigiensis)  

Russell, B.C., Larson, H.K., Hutchins, J.B. & Allen, G.R. 2005. Reef fishes of the Sahul Shelf. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory Supplement 1 2005: 83-105.(as Liza vaigiensis

Taylor, W.R. 1964. Fishes of Arnhem Land. Records of the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land 4: 44-307 figs 1-68 (as Chelon vaigiensis)

Thomson, J.M. 1954. The Mugilidae of Australia and adjacent seas. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 5(1): 70-131 figs 1-16 pls 1-2(as Liza vaigiensis)  

Thomson, J.M. 1997. The Mugilidae of the world. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 41(3): 457-562 fig. 1(as Liza vaigiensis)  

Whitley, G.P. 1930. Five new generic names for Australian fishes. The Australian Zoologist 6(3): 250-251. 

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.(as Liza vaigiensis

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37381008

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-10 m

Fishing:Aquarium, commercial fish

Habitat:Estuaries, freshwater, coastal areas

Max Size:70 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map