Silverside Weedfish, Cristiceps argyropleura Kner 1865

Other Names: Crested Weedfish, Silver-sided Weedfish

The Silverside Weedfish, Cristiceps argyropleura. Source: Rudie Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A brown, yellow or orange weedfish with a dark orange bar extending from the eye to behind the mouth, and large silver blotches along the side. The first dorsal fin originates before the middle of the eyes, and is connected by membrane to base of the second dorsal fin. The Silverside Weedfish inhabits deeper waters than other species, and is rarely seen by divers.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Cristiceps argyropleura in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Sep 2020,

Silverside Weedfish, Cristiceps argyropleura Kner 1865

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Off the mouth of the Clarence River, New South Wales, to western Victoria and northern Tasmania. Inhabits macroalgal and seagrass beds in bays, harbours and coastal waters.


Dorsal fin III + XXCII-XXIX, 6-8; Anal fin II, 22-24; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 9; Pectoral fin 11; Pelvic fin I, 3; Lateral line scales 16-20 (arched portion) + 28-32 (straight portion); Gill rakers 1-2 + 6-8 = 7-10. 

Body slender (depth at anal fin origin 20-23% SL), strongly compressed; caudal peduncle extremely slender. Head short (22-26% SL); eyes of moderate size (4-6% SL); snout short, about equal to eye diameter (5-6% SL); mouth large, reaching to below middle of eye in young, to below rear margin of eye in adult (9-12% SL); 11-13 uniserial circumorbital pores; each orbital tentacle simple, elongate, shorter than eye diameter (2-4% SL); nasal tentacles with 2 4 elongate slender lobes; gill rakers simple.

Scales on body cycloid; lateral line scales extending from behind head to end of caudal peduncle, anterior lateral line scales overlapping, each with a median posterior pore, posterior lateral line scales not overlapping, each with a median pore at either end.

Two dorsal fins, first anal fin elevated (second dorsal spine 16-23% SL), originating before middle of eyes and orbital tentacle, fin connected by membrane to base of second dorsal fin; second dorsal fin originating over rear half of opercula; flaps extending posteriorly from dorsal fin spines completely bound in membrane; posterior dorsal fin rays elongate, reaching to caudal fin in adult; anal fin membrane weakly incised; last anal fin ray narrowly connected to caudal peduncle; caudal fin long (24-28% SL). Pectoral fins rounded. Pelvic fins reaching about half way to anus, inner pelvic-fin ray about half length of second ray.


Brown, yellow or orange; head similar, with dark orange bar extending ventrally from each eye to behind mouth; large silver blotches along sides.


Sometimes taken in trawls.

Species Citation

Cristiceps argyropleura Kner 1865, Reise Novara, Fische 1(5): 199, pl. 7, fig. 4. Type locality: Sydney


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Silverside Weedfish, Cristiceps argyropleura Kner 1865


Hoese, D.F., Gomon, M.F. & Rennis, D.S. 2008. Family Clinidae. pp. 696-722 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Kner, R. 1865. Reise des Österreichischen Fregatte Novara un die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859, unter den Befehlen des Commodore B. von Wüllerstand-Urbair. Zool. Theil. Fische 1 und 2. Abteilung. Wien : Kurl Gerold's & Sohn 272 pp. 

Kner, R. 1864. Specielles Verzeichniss der während der Reise der kaiserlichen Fregatte "Novara" gesammelten Fische. II. Abtheilung. Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe 51: 499-504. See ref at BHL

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.

Rennis, D., Hoese, D.F. & Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Clinidae. pp. 741-775, figs 650-684B in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Whitley, G.P. 1959. Ichthyological snippets. The Australian Zoologist 12(4): 310-323 figs 1-3 (described as Cristiceps pataecoides) See ref at BHL

Williams, J.T., Holleman, W. & Clements, K.D. 2014. Cristiceps argyropleura. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T179061A1565035. Downloaded on 17 August 2016.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37416006

Biology:Live bearer

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:5-64 m

Habitat:Reef associated, kelp beds

Max Size:18 cm TL


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