Common Hardyhead, Atherinomorus vaigiensis (Quoy & Gaimard 1825)

Other Names: Hardyhead, Marine Hardyhead, Ogilby's Hardyhead, Ogilby's Silverside

A Common Hardyhead, Atherinomorus vaigiensis, in Camp Cove, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, September 2017. Source: Erik Schlogl / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A relatively deep-bodied silvery-bluish-green hardyhead, with dark pectoral-fin tips, and a dark margin on the rear of the caudal fin, and a narrow silvery midlateral band. The rear tip of the upper jaw does not extending beyond a vertical through the anterior margin of the pupil.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Atherinomorus vaigiensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 01 Mar 2024,

Common Hardyhead, Atherinomorus vaigiensis (Quoy & Gaimard 1825)

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Flinders Bay, Western Australia, to about Darwin, Northern Territory, and off Bowen, Queensland, to Narooma, New South Wales. Forms schools in shallow sheltered bays, estuaries and coastal areas.


Dorsal fin VI-VIII, 8-10; Anal fin I, 12-15; Vertebrae 40-43; midlateral scale count 39-42.
Upper margin of dentary slightly ascending distally, without a distinct tubercle at the posterior end; posterior tip of upper jaw not extending beyond a vertical through anterior margin of pupil; midlateral scale count 39-42; midlateral band narrow, width about 2/3 to 5/6 that of midlateral scale at level of anal fin origin.


Feeds on a range of small crustaceans (amphipods, copepods, isopods, crab and barnacle larvae), polychaete worms, gastropod molluscs, insects and insect larvae, foraminiferans, and plant matter.


The species is named vaigiensis for the type locality, Waigiou (Waigeo Island), Indonesia, the main island in Raja Ampat.

Species Citation

Atherina vaigiensis Quoy & Gaimard 1825, Voyage autour du monde:335. Type locality: Waigiou (= Waigeo, Indonesia); probably erroneous as the species is an Australian endemic. 
Kimura et al. (2001) noted that the type specimen is much shorter than the length given in the original description, and that species is not known from Indonesia. They suggested that the specimen probably came from Sydney, New South Wales, or Shark Bay, Western Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Common Hardyhead, Atherinomorus vaigiensis (Quoy & Gaimard 1825)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. (as Atherinomorus ogilbyi

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

Cuvier, G.L., in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1835. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 10 482 pp. pls 280-306. (described as Atherina cylindrica) See ref at BHL

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp. 

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp. 

Hourston, M., Platell, M.E., Valesini, E.J. & Potter, I.C. 2004. Factors influencing the diets of four morphologically divergent fish species in nearshore marine waters. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 84(4): 805-817 (as Atherinomorus ogilbyi)

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. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. (as Pranesus ogilbyi)

Ivantsoff, W. & Crowley, L.E.L.M. 1991. Review of the Australian silverside fishes of the genus Atherinomorus (Atherinidae). Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 42: 479-505 figs 1-5 (as Atherinomorus ogilbyi

Ivantsoff, W. & Crowley, L.E.L.M. 1999. Atherinidae. pp. 2113-2139 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 Atherinomorus cylindricus and A. ogilbyi)
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) 

Kimura, S., Iwatsuki, Y. & Yoshino, T. 2001. Validity of the atherinid fish, Atherinomorus vaigiensis (Quoy and Gaimard, 1825), with comments on its synonymy. Ichthyological Research 48: 379-384

Kimura, S., Iwatsuki, Y. & Yoshino, T.  2002. A new silverside, Atherinomorus aetholepis sp. nov., from the West Pacific (Atheriniformes: Atherinidae). Ichthyological Research 49(3): 240-244

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. (as Atherinomorus ogilbyi

Potter, I.C., Ivantsoff, W., Cameron, R. & Minnard, J. 1986. Life cycles and distribution of atherinids in the marine and estuarine waters of southern Australia. Hydrobiologia 139: 23-40 (as Pranesus ogilbyi)

Prince, J.D. & Potter, I.C. 1983. Life-cycle duration, growth and spawning times of five species of Atherinidae (Teleostei) found in a western Australian estuary. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 34: 287-301 (as Pranesus ogilbyi)

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. See ref at BHL

Whitley, G.P. 1930. Ichthyological miscellanea. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 10(1): 8-31 fig. 1 pl. 1 See ref at BHL (described as Pranesus ogilbyi)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37246007

Behaviour:Bays, estuaries, coastal waters

Depth:0-20 m

Max Size:17 cm TL


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