Whitespotted Dragonet, Orbonymus rameus (McCulloch 1926)

Other Names: High-finned Dragonet, Split-fin Dragonet, Whitespot Dragonet

A Whitespotted Dragonet, Orbonymus rameus, in Nelson Bay, New South Wales, February 2017. Source: Dave Harasti / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale greyish dragonet with a tall white-spotted first dorsal fin, reddish-brown to brown blotches along the side, a white caudal fin with two vertical reddish-brown bands, and blue spots forming oblique rows on the anal fin and lower part of the caudal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Orbonymus rameus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/51

Whitespotted Dragonet, Orbonymus rameus (McCulloch 1926)

More Info


Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia, around the tropical north to Sydney Harbour, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands. Inhabits sandy or rubble areas.


Dorsal fin IV + 8; Anal fin 7.
Body elongate, depressed. Head depressed, its length 4 to 4.3 times in standard length. Eye diameter 2.3 to 3.3 times in head length (measured to gill opening). Preopercular spine long, with a straight main tip, one 4 to 11 antrorse serrae on its dorsal margin, and an antrorse spine at its base. First dorsal fin very high, with IV spines. Second dorsal fin with 8 branched soft rays (the last divided to its base). Anal fin with 7 unbranched soft rays (the last divided to its base). Caudal fin distally convex, without filaments. Lateral line reaching from hind margin of eye to end of third or fourth caudal-fin ray, with 2 short ventral branches in postorbital region; lateral lines of opposite sides interconnected by a transverse branch across occipital region.


Head and body pale grey, ventrally white, sides with small red blotches and streaks; first dorsal fin yellow or grey, with vertical yellow bars, white spots and streaks edged with black; second dorsal fin light grey with horizontal yellow and white streaks on posterior half; caudal fin with 2 wide, vertical, dark grey bars; anal fin distally black.


Taken as bycatch in commercial prawn trawls.

Species Citation

Callionymus (Calliurichthys) rameus McCulloch 1926, Biol. Res. F.I.S. Endeavour 1909-1914 5(4): 201, pl. 53. Type locality: off Cape Capricorn, QLD. 


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Whitespotted Dragonet, Orbonymus rameus (McCulloch 1926)


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

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 Synchiropus rameus)

Blaber, S.J.M., Brewer, D.T. & Harris, A.N. 1994. Distribution, biomass and community structure of demersal fishes of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 45(3): 375-396. (as Synchiropus rameus)

Fricke, R. 1981. Revision of the genus Synchiropus (Teleostei : Callionymidae). Theses Zoologicae 1: 194, 1-46 figs (as Synchiropus (Orbonymus) rameus)

Fricke, R. 1983. Revision of the Indo-Pacific genera and species of the dragonet family Callionymidae (Teleostei). Theses Zoologicae 3: 1-774 figs 1-212 (as Synchiropus (Orbonymus) rameus)

Fricke, R. 1993. Pisces Teleostei: Callionymidae of New Caledonia with descriptions of new species. Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris 158: 361-376. (as Synchiropus rameus)

Fricke, R. 2000. Callionymidae of New Caledonia, with remarks on related species and descriptions of 10 new species from New Caledonia, Australia, New Guinea, and Hawaii (Teleostei). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie) 617: 1-81 figs 1-35 (as Synchiropus rameus)

Fricke, R. 2001. Suborder Callionymoidei. pp. 3549-3573 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. 6 pp. 3381-4218. (as Synchiropus rameus)

Fricke, R. 2002. Annotated checklist of the dragonet families Callionymidae and Draconettidae (Teleostei: Callionymoidei), with comments on callionymid fish classification. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie) 645: 1-103. (as Synchiropus (Orbonymus) rameus)

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. (as Synchiropus rameus)

Johnson, C.R. 1971. Revision of the callionymid fishes referable to the genus Callionymus from Australian waters. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum16(1): 103-140 figs 1-26 (as Callionymus rameus)

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) 

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 

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

McCulloch, A.R. 1926. Report on some fishes obtained by the F.I.S. Endeavour on the coasts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South and South-Western Australia. Part 5. Biological Results of the Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavour 1909-1914 5(4): 157-216 figs 1-5 pls 43-56 

Nakabo, T. 1982. Revision of genera of the dragonets (Pisces : Callionymidae). Publications of the Seto Marine Biological Laboratory 27(1/3): 77-131 figs 1-30 

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. (as Synchiropus rameus)

Whitley, G.P. 1947. New sharks and fishes from Western Australia. Part 3. The Australian Zoologist 11(2): 129-150 figs 1-3 pl. 11

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37427009

Depth:10-80 m

Habitat:Sand, rubble, muddy bottoms

Max Size:15 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map