Western Seacarp, Aplodactylus westralis Russell 1987

Other Names: Cockatoo Morwong, Western Australian Seacarp, Western Sea Carp

A Western Seacarp, Aplodactylus westralis. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A brown to slate grey seacarp, with six dark saddles on the upper sides becoming irregular bars below, with pale brown or whitish spaces between saddles and bars, and pale brown or whitish spots mostly on the head and unpaired fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Aplodactylus westralis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Apr 2020,

Western Seacarp, Aplodactylus westralis Russell 1987

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Known from about Yorke Peninsula, South Australia, to Rottnest Island and just north of Perth, Western Australia. Common in weedy reef areas, to 20 m.


Dorsal fin XVII-XVIII, 18-19; Anal fin III, 7; Pectoral fin i, 13-14; Lateral-line scales 92-100; gill rakers 6-9 + 14-18 = 21-25; Vertebrae 16+18=34.

Body elongate, greatest depth 3.7-4.7 in SL; greatest width 5.4-7.6 in SL; head length 4.3-4.5 in SL; snout short, 2.6-2.8 in head; dorsal profile of head obtusely angled in front of eye, snout and nape subtending an angle of about 135 deg; orbital diameter 4.8-6.5 in head; interorbital space convex medially, least width of interorbital 3.6-4.5 in head; least depth of caudal peduncle 1.9± 2.4 in head; peduncle length 2.0-2.6 in head. Mouth small, somewhat ventral on head; lips fleshy, upper lip projecting, maxilla reaching a vertical through posterior nostril; teeth small, lanceolate, in 5 to 6 rows in jaws, outermost row of teeth largest; tiny crescent-shaped patch of vomerine teeth; two pairs of nostrils, anterior pair with fleshy tentaculate flaps on anteroventral margin and posteroventral margin; opercle with broad flat spine which does not extend to the fleshy margin.

Dorsal fin long-based, with elongate notch between spinous and soft parts of fin, basal length of soft dorsal fin 1.2-1.4 in length of spinous part; anal fin short, basal length 2.0-2.5 in head; pectoral fin length 1.1-1.2 in head, ventral-most 5 to 6 rays simple, fleshy; pelvic fin length 1.3-1.5 in head, rays fleshy.

Scales small, cycloid, embedded, extending on to cheeks and opercles, and forming a sheath along base of spinous dorsal fin.


Body brown or slate grey, with six dark saddles above lateral line, these giving way below to irregular bars that extend to ventral midline; interspaces between saddles and bars pale brown or whitish (some specimens with interfaces reduced or coalesced to form pale mottles); numerous pale brown or whitish spots, about diameter of pupil, mostly on head and unpaired fins.


Feeds mostly on brown algae.

Similar Species

Species Citation

 Aplodactylus westralis Russell, 1987. Mem. Natl Mus. Vict. 48(1): 85, fig 1. Type locality: Canal Rocks, Cape Naturaliste, Western Australia (33°40'S, 115°00'E).


Bray, D.J. 2017

Western Seacarp, Aplodactylus westralis Russell 1987


Hutchins, J.B. 1979. A guide to the marine fishes of Rottnest Island. Creative Research, Perth. 103 pp. (as Dactylosargus arctidens)

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to sea fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. New Holland Publishers, Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia., 433 pp.

Mees, G.F. 1960. Additions to the fish fauna of Western Australia - 2. West. Aust. Fish. Bull. 9:13-21. (as Crinodus lophodon)

Russell, B.C. 1987. New Australian fishes. Part 20. A new species of Aplodactylus (Aplodactylidae). Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria 48(1): 85-87.

Russell, B.C. 2000. Review of the southern temperate fish family Aplodactylidae (Pisces: Perciformes). Journal of Natural History 34: 2157-2171.

Russell, B.C. 2008. Aplodactylidae (pp. 623-624). In Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. New Holland Publishers, Chatswood, Australia: 1-928.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37376004

Depth:to 20 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:35 cm SL


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