Rusty-spotted Toadfish, Torquigener pallimaculatus Hardy 1983

Other Names: Orange-spotted Toadfish

A Rusty-spotted Toadfish, Torquigener pallimaculatus, from the Pilbara, Western Australia, July 2017. Source: Chris Dowling / Flickr. License: All rights reserved

A greyish-brown pufferfish becoming whitish below, with distinct pale spots on the back and sides, each surrounded by a rosette of smaller dark spots, and sometimes two irregular rows of larger brownish-orange spots along the mid and lower side.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Torquigener pallimaculatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Feb 2024,

Rusty-spotted Toadfish, Torquigener pallimaculatus Hardy 1983

More Info


Widespread in Australia, from south of Perth, Western Australia, around the tropical north, to Lindeman Island, Queensland.
Usually inhabits sandy and muddy areas in estuaries and coastal bays.


Dorsal fin 8-10; Anal fin 7-8; Pectoral fin 15-17; Caudal fin 11; Vertebrae 8-9 + 12-13. 
Dorsal surface moderately covered with short spines to just before dorsal fin; lower half of prebranchial margin with several prominent papillae, each at least partially enveloping a long, slightly curved spine.

Similar Species

Differs from Torquigener paxtoni in having a relatively longer caudal peduncle and more dense dorsal spination, though not as dense as in T. tuberculiferus. The distinct, pale, dorsal spots that are each surrounded by small dark spots to form a rosette in T. pallimaculatus distinguish it from T. tuberculiferus and the otherwise very similar, though larger, T. vicinus


The specific name pallimaculatus is from the Latin pallidus (= pale) and maculatus (= spotted) in reference to the distinct, pale, dorsal spots.

Species Citation

Torquigener pallimaculatus Hardy 1983, Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 13(1/2): 20, fig. 8. Type locality: Princess Charlotte Bay, Queensland.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Rusty-spotted Toadfish, Torquigener pallimaculatus Hardy 1983


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. 

Hardy, G.S. 1983. Revision of Australian species of Torquigener Whitley (Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae), and two new generic names for Australian puffer fishes. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 13(1/2): 1-48

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, 166 pp.

Hutchins, B. 2004. Fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 66: 343–398 

Hutchins, J.B. 1997. Checklist of fishes of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. pp. 239-253 in Wells, F. (ed.) The Marine Fauna and Flora of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum. 

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp. 

McCulloch, A.R. 1915. Report on some fishes obtained by the F.I.S. Endeavour on the coasts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South and South-Western Australia. Part 3. Biological Results of the Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavour 1909-1914 3(3): 97-170 figs 1-3 pls 13-37 (as Spheroides tuberculiferus in part)

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84 

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

Shao, K., Leis, J.L., Hardy, G., Jing, L., Liu, M. & Sanciangco, J. 2014. Torquigener pallimaculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T193678A2259096. Downloaded on 07 June 2019.

Whitley, G.P. 1930. Ichthyological miscellanea. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 10: 8-31. (as Torquigener vicinus, in part)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467009

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:3-84 m

Habitat:Sandy, muddy areas

Max Size:18 cm SL


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CAAB distribution map