Striped Scat, Selenotoca multifasciata (Richardson 1846)

Other Names: Banded Scat, Barred Scat, Butterfish, John Dory, Johnny Dory, Old Maid, Southern Butter-fish, Striped Butterfish

Striped Scat, Selenotoca multifasciata. Source: Sabine Hoeng. License: All rights reserved


A greenish to pale silvery-grey scat with dark vertical bars along the upper sides, several faint dusky horizontal lines on the lower side, and black lips. Juveniles have small spots in vertical rows on the lower side, and narrow black margins on the rear of the caudal fin and soft portions of anal and dorsal fins (juvs smaller than about 6 cm SL) .

Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018, Selenotoca multifasciata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Apr 2024,

Striped Scat, Selenotoca multifasciata (Richardson 1846)

More Info


Widespread in northern Australia from Shark Bay, Western Australia, to Sydney, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the west Pacific - Sulawesi, New Guinea and New Caledonia. 
Inhabits bays, estuaries, mangrove creeks and the lower reaches of freshwater rivers and streams. Juveniles commonly enter freshwater streams, while adults often form schools over sandy areas in estuaries and river mouths. 


Dorsal fin XII, 16; Anal fin IV, 15-16; Pectoral fin 17; Pelvic fin I, 5.
Body quadrangular, strongly compressed. Dorsal head profile steep. Eye moderately large, its diameter somewhat smaller than snout length. Snout rounded. Mouth small, horizontal, not protractile. Teeth villiform, in several rows on jaws; gill membrane not forming a free fold across isthmus.
Scales small, ctenoid covering head, body, caudal fin, and soft parts of anal and dorsal fins; lateral line distinct following back profile.
First dorsal-fin spine procumbent, a deep notch between spinous and soft parts of dorsal fin. Caudal fin from rounded (in juveniles) to truncate; posterior margin of soft portions of dorsal and anal fins oblique.


To around 28 cm SL.


Greenish or silvery with numerous dark, vertical bars on upper sides and spots, usually smaller than eye, more or less arranged in vertical rows on lower side; lips black; posterior edge of caudal fin and soft portions of anal and dorsal fins with a narrow black margin which disappear in specimens larger than about 6 cm standard length.


Omnivorous, feeding on small benthic invertebrates and detritus.


Little is known of the reproductive biology of this species.


Often taken by recreational anglers in estuaries. 


The fin spines are venomous and cause painful wounds.

Species Citation

Scatophagus multifasciatus Richardson, 1846, Zool. Erebus & Terror 2: 57. Type locality: King George Sound, Western Australia (probably in error as it is outside the known distribution of this species).


Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Striped Scat, Selenotoca multifasciata (Richardson 1846)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37363001

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:0-5 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Estuaries, freshwater streams

Max Size:45 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map