Saltpan Sole, Brachirus salinarum Ogilby 1910

Other Names: Salt-pan Sole

Illustration of the eyed and blind sides of the holotype of the Saltpan Sole, Brachirus salinarum. Source: Ogilby (1910) Proc. Roy. Soc. Qld 2: 35, text fig. 3. License: Copyright Expired

A brown to tan freshwater sole with irregular darker brown blotches, and a white underside.

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon, Brachirus salinarum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 06 Feb 2023,

Saltpan Sole, Brachirus salinarum Ogilby 1910

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Known only from northeastern Australia from the Victoria River, Northern Territory, and the Gregory River to the Wenlock River, and east to the Walsh River northwest of Chillagoe, Queensland. Inhabits clear or turbid waters of freshwater streams, on sand or gravel bottoms.


D 66–78; A 53–59; C 16; P 5-8; V 6; LL 84–97; Tr Sc 33/1/42.
Head and body extremely compressed (flattened); body depth 2.9 in total length (34.5%), ovate. Snout projecting well in front of mouth. Eyes on right side of body; diameter 7.2 in head length (13.8%), interorbital 6 in head length; lips, lower margins of snout and interopecle profusely papillose, lower nostril in patch of cirri above upper lip.
Scales finely ctenoid on both sides; preopercle hidden by scales; lateral-line curving downward from near dorsal margin of head to above opercular opening, then straight on lateral midline to base of tail
Dorsal fin origin on snout in front of upper eye; anal fin origin below pectoral fin base; dorsal and anal fins united with basal part of caudal fin; pectoral fins small, 2.5 in head length; ventral fins symmetrical, subequal, separated from anal fin; caudal fin pointed.


Reaches about 15 cm TL, common to about 10 cm TL


Brown to tan with irregular darker brown blotching, white on ventral surface.


An ambush predator whose flattened body and colouration provides excellent camouflage particularly on sandy substrates. Feeds on small fishes and crustaceans.


Oviparous, likely to produce small pelagic eggs. Larvae start out with eyes on either side of the head as in other fishes but as they develop one eye migrates over the top of the head to the other side and they become benthic.

Species Citation

Brachirus salinarum Ogilby 1910, Proc. R. Soc. Qld. 23(1): 35. Type locality: Saltpans at Kimberley, north QLD.


Martin F. Gomon


Australian Faunal Directory

Saltpan Sole, Brachirus salinarum Ogilby 1910


Allen, G.R. (1989). Freshwater Fishes of Australia.  Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications 240 pp. pls 1–63.

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. (2002). Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Lake, J.S. (1978). Australian Freshwater Fishes.  Melbourne : Thomas Nelson 160 pp. 140 figs.

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.

McCulloch, A.R. 1916. Ichthyological items. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 5: 58–69 figs 1–4 pls 7–9

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. (1984). Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management.  Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp. figs 280 col. figs.

Ogilby, J.D. (1910). On new or insufficiently described fishes. Proc. R. Soc. Qld. 23(1): 1–55 Ref at BHL.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37462025

Habitat:Freshwater streams

Max Size:15 cm TL


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