Common name: Diamondfishes, Moonfishes, Silver Batfishes



Deep bodied, compressed, mostly silvery fishes with similar symmetrical long‑based dorsal and anal fins; the anterior soft finrays of both are distinctly longer than the preceding spines and subsequent rays; eyes large; mouth terminal and protractile; scales small, extending well onto bases of dorsal and anal fins; pelvic fins small but well developed. Coastal fishes, often in freshwater well beyond tidal influences.

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon, Silver batfishes, MONODACTYLIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jul 2024,

More Info

Family Taxonomy

The family Monodactylidae comprises five species belonging to three genera. Three species in two genera, Monodactyus and Schuettea, occur in Australian waters. Both genera are treated in Kottelat (2001). Tominaga (1968) recommended the placement of Schuettea in a separate family because of differences from other monodactylids including normally developed pectoral fins, cycloid scales, and the lack of teeth on certains bones.

Family Distribution

Widely distributed in tropical and warm temperate seas of the Indo-west Pacific and eastern Atlantic regions. Monodactylids occur in marine and estuarine habitats and also the lower reaches of freshwater streams.

Family Size

The maximum length is about 28 cm.


Martin F. Gomon


Kottelat, M. (2001). Monodactylidae.  pp. 3216–3220 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 pp. 2791–3379

Tominaga, Y. (1968). Internal morphology, mutual relationships and systematic position of the fishes belonging to the family Pempheridae. Jpn. J. Ichthyol. 15(2): 43–95 figs 1–17