Large-eye Weedfish, Heteroclinus macrophthalmus Hoese 1976

Other Names: Large-eyed Weedfish, Tasselled Weedfish

A Large-eye Weedfish, Heteroclinus macrophthalmus. Source: Rudie Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A tan weedfish with a dark brown stripe along the back, a silver oblique bar behind eye running along the midside and breaking up into silver blotches, sometimes with 4-6 brown bars along the side, and the anterior lateral line scales often black.
As the common name suggests, the eye is large, with the eye diameter being greater than the snout length. The first dorsal fin arising above middle of the gill cover, the first few dorsal-fin spines have branched tips, the orbital tentacle is broad and flattened, with many lobes at tip, and the nasal tentacle is short with a prominent lobe.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Heteroclinus macrophthalmus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Apr 2021,

Large-eye Weedfish, Heteroclinus macrophthalmus Hoese 1976

More Info


Endemic to southern Australia, from about Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, to the Recherche Archipelago, Western Australia, and north-eastern Tasmania.

Inhabits seagrass beds and rocky reefs amongst macroalgae, in depths of 1-18 m.


Dorsal fin III, XXIX-XXXI, 4-5; Anal fin II, 25-27; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 11; Pectoral fin 12-13; Pelvic fin I, 2; Lateral line (arched portion) 23-28 + (straight) 13-24; Gill rakers 2-3 + 6-8 = 8-10.

Body long, slender, strongly compressed; orbital tentacle broad, flattened, with many lobes at tip; nasal tentacle short, with prominent lobes; first dorsal fin arising over middle of gill cover, first few dorsal-fin spines with free, branched tips; pelvic fins with a small spine and 2 segmented rays (3rd ray tiny, hidden in skin); anal fin broadly connected by a free membrane to about middle of tail base. 


Head and body tan, with a dark brown stripe along back; stripe sometimes broken with 4-6 brown bars extending below; anterior lateral line scales often black.


  • IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • EPBC Act: Not listed
  • Similar Species

    Differs from Heteroclinus adelaidae in having a larger eye, dorsal-fin spines with free lobes, nasal and orbital tentacles branched with numerous elongate lobes, more dorsal-, anal- and pectoral-fin rays, and more lateral line scales.

    Species Citation

    Heteroclinus macrophthalmus Hoese, 1976, Aust. Zool. 19(1): 63, figs 3b, 5-7. Type locality: Port Lincoln, SA.


    Bray, D.J. 2017


    Australian Faunal Directory

    Large-eye Weedfish, Heteroclinus macrophthalmus Hoese 1976


    Hoese, D.F. 1976. A redescription of Heteroclinus adelaidae Castelnau (Pisces : Clinidae), with description of a related species. Australian Zoologist 19(1): 51-67 figs 1-7 See ref. at BHL

    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.

    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.

    Williams, J.T., Holleman, W. & Clements, K.D. 2014. Heteroclinus macrophthalmus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T178930A1549151. Downloaded on 17 August 2016.

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37416012


    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Depth:1-18 m

    Habitat:Rocky reefs, seagrass beds

    Max Size:10 cm TL


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