Banded Weedfish, Heteroclinus whiteleggii (Ogilby 1894)

Other Names: Long-nosed Weed-fish, Whitelegg's Weedfish

A Banded Weedfish, Heteroclinus whiteleggii, at Guerilla Bay, Batemans Marine Park, New South Wales. Source: Andrew J. Green / Reef Life Survey. License: CC By Attribution

Variable in colour ranging from dark brown to olive-green or pink, usually with six darker wavy bands or saddles extending onto the dorsal fin, often a broad dark stripe from the upper jaw to the upper part of the caudal peduncle, and a series of white spots or large blotches along the lower side. The species has a small branched or crenulated nasal tentacle, and a short, broad simple orbital tentacle.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Heteroclinus whiteleggii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Apr 2024,

Banded Weedfish, Heteroclinus whiteleggii (Ogilby 1894)

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Endemic to eastern Australia, from Double Island Point, Queensland, to the Betka River mouth, eastern Victoria. 
Inhabits shallow sheltered and exposed algal-covered reefs, tidepools, and rock platforms.


Dorsal fin III + XXVI-XXVIII, 3-4; Anal fin II, 18-22; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 10-12; Pectoral fin 11-13; Pelvic fin I, 3; Lateral line scales 20-26 + 22-23.
Body compressed; tentacle above eye short, broad; nasal tentacle small, weakly lobed. 
Body covered in tiny cycloid scales; anterior portion of lateral line with a scale on each pore, posterior section with a scale between the pores.
Dorsal fin in two parts, anterior section low, with membrane connecting long-based spinous second part, with 3-4 soft rays at end of fin; anal fin similar; pelvic fin-rays thickened, finger-like.


Clinids are viviparous, having internal fertilisation and birth of live young.


Some authors treat Cristiceps fasciatus Macleay 1881 as a distinct species (Kuiter 1993; Kuiter & Kuiter 2018).


The species is named for Ogilby's friend Mr Thomas Whitelegge, who found the type specimen "under stones between tidemarks  on the oyster beds at Jervis Bay".

Species Citation

Clinus whiteleggii Ogilby, 1894, Proc. Linn. Soc. N. S. W. 2 9(2): 371. Type locality: Jervis Bay, New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Banded Weedfish, Heteroclinus whiteleggii (Ogilby 1894)


Fricke, R., McEachran, J. & Williams, J.T. 2010. Heteroclinus whiteleggii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154943A4673560. Downloaded on 10 January 2019.

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. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. (as Heteroclinus fasciatus and H. whiteleggi)

Kuiter, R. & Kuiter, S. 2018. Coastal sea-fishes of south-eastern Australia. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, 371 pp. (as Heteroclinus fasciatus and H. whiteleggi)

Larson, H.K. 2001. Clinidae. pp. 3536-3537 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.

Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 3. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 6(1): 1-138 pls 1-2 (described as Cristiceps fasciatus) [a junior secondary homonym of Neoblennius fasciatus Castelnau]. See ref at BHL

McCulloch, A.R. 1908. Studies in Australian fishes, No. 1. Records of the Australian Museum 7(1): 36-43 pls 10-11 (as Petraites fasciatus)

Ogilby, J.D. 1894. Description of five new fishes from the Australasian region. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 2 9(2): 367-374. See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37416024

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-10 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:10 cm TL


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