Sea Trumpeter, Pelsartia humeralis (Ogilby 1899)

Other Names: Stormy Perch

A Sea Trumpeter, Pelsartia humeralis, at Rottnest Island, Western Australia, April 2017. Source: Glen Whisson / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A pale greyish to brown trumpeter becoming silvery-white below, with about 4 broad dark broken bands on sides, a large dark blotch above the pectoral fin, and small dark spots on the soft dorsal, anal and caudal fins. Juveniles have rows of dark spots along the back. The Sea Trumpeter has a long oval-shaped body, a long-based dorsal fin, and conical teeth that lack additional lobes or points. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Pelsartia humeralis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024,

Sea Trumpeter, Pelsartia humeralis (Ogilby 1899)

More Info


Endemic to temperate waters of south-western Australia, from Kangaroo Island (South Australia) to the Houtman Abrolhos islands (Western Australia). Although commonly found in shallow seagrass beds on the west coast, Sea Trumpeter are not common in South Australia. Juveniles often shelter amongst wrack: detached macrophytes - seagrass and macroalgae.


Dorsal fin XII-XIII, 11; Anal fin III, 10; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 14-15; Pelvic fins I, 5; Lateral line scales 80-90.

Body compressed, moderately deep and long; head small; eyes of moderate size; mouth moderately small, oblique, upper jaw not reaching or barely reaching front of eyes; teeth tiny, conical without additional lobes or points, in a single band in each jaw, those in outer row distinctly larger than inner teeth; two spines dorsally on each operculum, lower spine prominent;  preopercular edges serrate.

Scales very small, finely ctenoid, covering body and head except for above and in front of eyes; lateral line mostly straight, angled from above each pectoral fin.

Dorsal fin long-based, with a shallow notch two‑thirds of the way back, soft portion rounded;  anal fin of similar size and shape as soft portion of dorsal fin; caudal fin with a slight concave notch in margin; pectoral fins small, upper rays longest; pelvic fins small, arising distinctly behind and below pectoral fin origins, not quite reaching anus.


Pale greyish to brown above, silvery to white below with 4–5 broad dark vertical bands on side, bands most distinct just above centre of sides; head with dark stripes through and below eyes; soft dorsal, anal and caudal fins with small dark brown spots; juveniles also with 3 longitudinal rows of dark spots dorsally.


May be taken as bycatch in commercial trawls.

Similar Species

Pelsartis humeralis differs from Pelates octolineatus, the only other terapontid found in south-western Australia, in having 3-4 broad dark vertical bands along the body vs 5-8 dark stripes along the sides (plus often 6-7 indistinct vertical bands - darker at night), and conical teeth that lack additional lobes or points vs teeth with 3 distinct lobes or points.

Species Citation

Therapon humeralis Ogilby 1899, Proc. Linn. Soc. N. S. W. 24(1): 177. Type locality: Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Sea Trumpeter, Pelsartia humeralis (Ogilby 1899)


Allen, G.R. & M.F. Gomon. 2008. Family Terapontidae (pp. 617-619). In: Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds) 2008. Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.  

Crawley, K.R., Hyndes, G.A & Ayvazian, S.G. 2006. Influence of different volumes and types of detached macrophytes on fish community structure in surf zones of sandy beaches. Marine Ecology Progress Series 307: 233–246

Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds) 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs

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

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to sea fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers pp. I-xvii + 1-434

Ogilby, J.D. 1899. Contributions to Australian ichthyology. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 24(1): 154-186.

Valesini, F., Potter, I., Platell, M. et al. 1997. Ichthyofaunas of a temperate estuary and adjacent marine embayment. Implications regarding choice of nursery area and influence of environmental changes. Marine Biology 128: 317.

Whitley, G.P. 1943. Ichthyological notes and illustrations. Part 2. The Australian Zoologist 10(2): 167-187 figs 1-10

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37321021

Depth:0-20 m

Habitat:Seagrass beds, kelp

Max Size:38 cm TL


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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map