Broadhead Clingfish, Cochleoceps bassensis Hutchins 1983

Other Names: Broad-headed Clingfish

Illustration of the arrangement of papillae on the ventral sucking disc of the Broadhead Clingfish, Cochleoceps bassensis. Source: After Hutchins 1983 Rec. W. A. Mus. 11(1): 38, fig. 3. License: All rights reserved


A small clingfish covered in large close-set red spots or blotches over a paler background; spots on upper part of body may form close-set bands. As the common name suggests, this species has a very broad, flattened head and a prominent triangular snout with a rounded tip.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Cochleoceps bassensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Jul 2024,

Broadhead Clingfish, Cochleoceps bassensis Hutchins 1983

More Info


Endemic to south-eastern Australia, from eastern Victoria and Tasmania, to South Australia. The species is uncommon inshore, preferring sponge gardens on deeper offshore reefs in depths to 40 m; also found on jetty piles.


Dorsal fin 5-6; Anal fin 5-6; Pectoral fin 24-26; Pelvic fin i, 4; Caudal fin  11-12; Vertebrae (total) 33-34.
Body robust, moderately depressed anteriorly, compressed posteriorly; caudal peduncle of moderate length. Head broad, flat; snout of moderate length, somewhat triangular shaped with rounded tip in dorsal view; posterior nostril above or behind front margin of each eye; eyes of moderate size; lips narrow, fleshy; mouth small, reaching to below centre of eyes, jaws of equal length; teeth small, conical; no spines laterally on head; gill openings large, lateral. 
Scales and lateral line absent; some sensory papillae on sides. 
A single, short-based dorsal fin close to, but distinctly separated from caudal fin; anal fin similar to and opposite dorsal fin, anterior rays of neither fin swollen at base; caudal fin rounded. Pectoral fins rounded, with no fleshy pad ventrally on bases. Pelvic fins united into a relatively large ventral sucking disc, consisting of anterior and posterior halves, posterior edge with fleshy fringe.


To 7 cm.


Head and body covered in large close-set red spots or blotches over a paler background; spots on head round, those on body oval-shaped.
Colour throughout yellow, the head and body above and on the sides ornamented with crowded carmine spots, those on the head round, those on the body lengthened; the upper ones arranged transversely to form closely packed bands. Fins and lower surfaces without markings (Waite, 1906). 


The sexes are separate and fertilisation is external. Females lay and guard demersal eggs that are attached to the substrate.


Of no interest to fisheries, although taken as bycatch in scallop dredges.


Not evaluated.

Similar Species

In the past, this species had been confused with the Spadenose Clingfish, Cochleoceps spatula, which has a more westerly distribution.


The species is named bassensis for Bass Strait, the type locality.

Species Citation

Cochleoceps bassensis Hutchins 1983, Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 11(1): 40, Figs. 3b, 4b, 5-7. Type locality: Western Port, 38°26'S, 145°08'E, Victoria, Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Broadhead Clingfish, Cochleoceps bassensis Hutchins 1983


Briggs, J.C. 1955. A monograph of the clingfishes (order Xenopterygii). Stanford Ichthyological Bulletin 6: 1-224 figs 1-114 (misidentified as Cochleoceps spatula)

Hutchins, J.B. 1983. Redescription of the clingfish Cochleoceps spatula (Gobiesocidae) from Western Australia and South Australia, with the description of a new species from Victoria and Tasmania. Records of the Western Australian Museum 11(1): 33-47. PDF available, open access

Hutchins, J.B. 1991. Descriptions of three new species of gobiesocid fishes from southern Australia, with a key to the species of Cochleoceps. Records of the Western Australian Museum 15(3): 655-672. PDF available, open access

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. Family Gobiesocidae, in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) The fishes of Australia's south coast. Flora and Fauna of South Australia Handbooks Committee. State Printer, Adelaide. 1-992.

Hutchins, J.B. 2008. Family Gobiesocidae, pp 722-741, in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

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

Scott, T.D. 1954. Four new fishes from South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) 11(2): 105-112 figs 1-3 pl. 22 (misidentified as Cochleoceps spatula)

Scott, T.D., Glover, C.J.M. & Southcott, R.V. 1974. The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of South Australia. Adelaide : Government Printer 392 pp. figs. (misidentified as Cochleoceps spatula)

Waite, E.R. 1906. Descriptions of and notes on some Australian and Tasmanian fishes. Records of the Australian Museum 6: 194-210 (as Crepidogaster spatulaPDF Open access (misidentified as Diplocrepis cardinalis)

Waite, E.R. 1921. Illustrated catalogue of the fishes of South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) 2(1): 1-208 293 figs pl. 1 (misidentified as Aspasmogaster spatula)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37206002

Depth:1-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sponges

Max Size:7 cm


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CAAB distribution map