Flagtail Rockcod, Cephalopholis urodeta (Forster 1801)

Other Names: Chevron Rock-cod, Darkfin Hind, Duskyfin Hind, Duskyfin Rockcod, Flagtail Grouper, Flagtail Rock-cod, Flag-tailed Cod, Flag-tailed Grouper, Flag-tailed Rockcod, Flag-tailed Rock-cod, V-tail Grouper

A Flagtail Rockcod, Cephalopholis urodeta, on the Ribbon Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: William T. White. License: All rights reserved

A reddish-brown to pale greyish-brown rockcod becoming darker towards the rear, with distinctive whitish to pale blue oblique stripes across upper and lower lobes of the tail, often six faint bars along the side that divide ventrally, small orange-red spots on the head and nape, and a pair of dark spots on the front of the lower lip. The Flagtail Rockcod also has yellowish pectoral fins and usually a large reddish to brownish spot on the outer margin of the gill cover.

Although once considered to be widespread in the Indian Ocean, the Flagtail Rockcod is known from Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean to French Polynesia and the Pitcairn Islands. The Indian Ocean species is Cephalopholis nigripinnis, which hybridizes with C. urodeta at Christmas Island.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Cephalopholis urodeta in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/4659

Flagtail Rockcod, Cephalopholis urodeta (Forster 1801)

More Info


Claremont to Rowley Shoals, Western Australia, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea, to at least the Solitary Islands, New South Wales; also at Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, and the Lord Howe Island region in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, east-Indo-west-central Pacific - from Christmas Island to French Polynesia and the Pitcairn Islands.
Usually inhabits clear, shallow outer reef areas in depths to 60 m; occasionally also in lagoons, back-reef areas, and reef crests.


Dorsal fin IX, 14-16; Anal fin III, 8-9.
Greatest body depth 2.7-3.1 in SL; HL 2.4-2.7 in SL; interorbital area convex; preopercle rounded, finely serrate with fleshy lower edge; subopercle and interopercle usually smooth; maxilla reaching well beyond eye; caudal fin rounded; pelvic fin 1.8-2.2 in HL; pectoral fin distinctly longer than pelvic fin; caudal fin rounded; body scales ctenoid; snout and maxilla with minute cycloid scales.


Carnivore - feeds mostly on small fishes and crustaceans.


Targeted by recreational fishers, in subsistence fisheries in parts of its range, and by the aquarium industry. Bag and size limits apply in Queensland waters.

Species Citation

Perca urodeta Forster in Bloch & Schneider 1801, Systema Ichthyologiae: 333. Type locality: Santa Christina Island (= Tahuata), Marquesas Islands.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Flagtail Rockcod, Cephalopholis urodeta (Forster 1801)


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

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp. 

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311142

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-60 m

Fishing:Commercial, aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:28 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map