Prickly Toadfish, Contusus brevicaudus Hardy 1981

Other Names: Hardys Toadfish, Prickly Pufferfish

A Prickly Toadfish, Contusus brevicaudus, at St Leonards, Port Phillip, Victoria, 2005. Source: Mark D. Norman / Museums Victoria. License: CC BY Attribution

A yellowish to pale greyish puffer becoming silvery-white below, with pale greyish to brown spots and blotches on the sides and back, and pale yellowish fins.
Many pufferfishes are very poisonous and should never be eaten or fed to pets.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Contusus brevicaudus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024,

Prickly Toadfish, Contusus brevicaudus Hardy 1981

More Info


Endemic to the southern half of Australia from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, to off Green Head, north of Perth, Western Australia, and around Tasmania.
Inhabits bays, estuaries and coastal waters, over sandy and muddy areas, seagrass beds, mangroves and weedy reefs at depths to 20 m. Juveniles may be abundant in estuaries.


There are historic records of seine casts undertaken at the mouths of rivers containing 400–500 individuals, and of trawl catches off the Tasmanian coast including several hundred individuals (Hardy 1981).

Similar Species

The similar Barred Toadfish, Contusus richei, differs in having a longer caudal peduncle, shorter dorsal and anal fins that never reach the tail base when folded back (vs. reaching or almost reaching the tail when folded back in C. brevicaudus), and in having the lower border of the eye is level with the upper part of the pectoral-fin base (vs. well above in C. brevicaudus).


The species is named brevicaudus because it has a significantly shorter caudal peduncle than Contusus richei. 

Species Citation

Contusus brevicaudus Hardy, 1981, N. Z. J. Zool. 8: 16, figs 1a, 3. Type locality: Emu Bay, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. 


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Prickly Toadfish, Contusus brevicaudus Hardy 1981


Hardy, G.S. 1981. A redescription of the pufferfish Contusus richei (Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae), and description of a second species of ContususNew Zealand Journal of Zoology 8(1): 11-23.

Hardy, G.S. 1994. Family Tetraodontidae. pp. 902-912, figs 795-804 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.

Harman, N., Harvey, E.S. & Kendrick, G.A. 2003. Differences in fish assemblages from different reef habitats at Hamelin Bay, south-western Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 54(2): 177-184.  

Hindell, J.S. & Jenkins, G.P. 2004. Spatial and temporal variability in the assemblage structure of fishes associated with mangroves (Avicennia marina) and intertidal mudflats in temperate Australian embayments. Marine Biology 144: 385-395.  

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services.

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs.

Hyndes, G.A., Platell, M.E., Potter, I.C. & Lenanton, R.C.J. 1999. Does the composition of the demersal fish assemblages in temperate coastal waters change with depth and undergo consistent seasonal changes? Marine Biology 134: 335-352.

Jenkins, G.P. & Wheatley, M.J. 1998. The influence of habitat structure on nearshore fish assemblages in a southern Australian embayment: Comparison of shallow seagrass, reef-algal and unvegetated sand habitats, with emphasis on their importance to recruitment. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 221: 147-172.

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.

Potter, I.C., Chalmer, P.N., Tiivel, D.J., Steckis, D.J., Platell, M.E. & Lenanton, R.C.J. 2000. The fish fauna and finfish fishery of the Leschenault Estuary in south-western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 83: 481-501.

Shao, K., Liu, M., Jing, L., Hardy, G., Leis, J.L. & Matsuura, K. 2014. Contusus brevicaudus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T193631A2250184. Downloaded on 12 October 2019.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467044

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:1-20 m

Habitat:Sandy, weedy areas

Max Size:26 cm TL


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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map