Red Morwong, Morwong fuscus (Castelnau 1879)

Other Names: Sea Carp

A Red Morwong, Morwong fuscus, at Fairy Bower, Manly, New South Wales, January 2017. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike


A large temperate rocky reef fish with the following identifying features: pinkish to red on the upper half of the head and body, and silvery white below, with pale vertical markings on the rear of the body, and silvery white stripes running from the snout, over the eye to beyond the gill cover.

Prior to the revision of Ludt et al. (2019), this species was known as Cheilodactylus fuscus and was placed in the family Cheilodactylidae.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Morwong fuscus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 Nov 2020,

Red Morwong, Morwong fuscus (Castelnau 1879)

More Info


Hervey Bay, Queensland, to Mallacoota, Victoria; also Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the species occurs in New Zealand.









Similar Species


Species Citation

Cheilodactylus fuscus Castelnau 1879, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 1 3(4): 376. Type locality: Sydney, New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Australian Faunal Directory

Red Morwong, Morwong fuscus (Castelnau 1879)


Allan, R. 2002. Australian Fish and How to Catch Them. Sydney : New Holland Publishers (Australia) 394 pp. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Allen, G.R. & Heemstra, P.C. 1976. Cheilodactylus rubrolabiatus, a new species of morwong (Pisces : Cheilodactylidae) from Western Australia, with a key to the cheilodactylid fishes of Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 4(4): 311-325 figs 1-2 (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Ayling, T. & Cox, G.J. 1982. Collins Guide to the Seafishes of New Zealand. Auckland : Collins 343 pp. 48 pls 475 figs. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Castelnau, F.L. de 1879. Essay on the ichthyology of Port Jackson. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 3(4): 347-402. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus and Cheilodactylus annularis)

Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2, 624 pp. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Kuiter, R.H. 1994. Family Cheilodactylidae. pp. 644-655, figs 566-574 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. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Lincoln Smith, M.P., Bel,l J.D., Pollard, D.A. & Russell, B.C. 1989. Catch and effort of competition spearfishers in southeastern Australia. Fisheries Research 8: 45–61 (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Lockett, M.M. & Suthers, I.M. 1998. Ontogenetic diet shift and feeding activity in the temperate reef fish Cheilodactylus fuscus. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 120: 105-116. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Lowry, M. 2003. Age and growth of Cheilodactylus fuscus, a temperate rocky reef fish. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 37(1): 159-170. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Lowry, M. & Cappo, M. 1999. Morwongs. pp. 172-179 in Andrew, N. (ed.) Under Southern Seas - The ecology of Australia's rocky reefs. Sydney : University of New South Wales Press 238 pp. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Lowry, M.B. & Suthers, I. M. 1998. Home range, activity and distribution patterns of a temperate rocky-reef fish, Cheilodactylus fuscus. Marine Biology 132(4): 569-578. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Lowry, M. & Suthers, I. 2004. Population structure of aggregations, and response to spear fishing, of a large temperate reef fish Cheilodactylus fuscus. Marine Ecology Progress Series 273: 199-210 (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Ludt, W.B., Burridge, C.P. & Chakrabarty, P. 2019. A taxonomic revision of Cheilodactylidae and Latridae (Centrarchiformes: Cirrhitoidei) using morphological and genomic characters. Zootaxa 4585 (1): 121–141,

McLean, C., Miskiewicz, A.G. & Roberts, E.A. 1991. Effect of three primary treatment sewage outfalls on metal concentrations in the fish Cheilodactylus fuscus collected along the coast of Sydney, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 22(3): 134–140. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Randall, J.E. 2001. Cirrhitidae, Cheilodactylidae. pp. 3321-3330 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

Roberts, C.D. 2015. 199 Family Cheilodactylidae, pp. 1347-1357, in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Roberts, C.D. & Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Cheilodactylidae and Latridae. pp. 624-632 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. (as Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Schroeder, A., Lowry, M. & Suthers, I. 1994. Sexual dimorphism in the red morwong (Cheilodactylus fuscus). Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 45: 1173–1180.

Whitley, G.P. 1957. Ichthyological Illustrations. Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 1955–56: 56-71, figs 1-12

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37377009

Depth:0-30 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:65 cm

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CAAB distribution map