Magpie Morwong, Goniistius gibbosus (Richardson 1841)

Other Names: Crested Morwong, Western Crested Morwong, Western Morwong

A Magpie Morwong, Goniistius gibbosus, at the wreck of HMAS Swan, Geographe Bay, Western Australia, April 2009. Source: Erik Schlogl / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A whitish morwong with black diagonal bands on the head and body: a prominent band from the eye to the pectoral-fin base, one from the nape to the pectoral-fin base, a third from the dorsal-fin origin fading behind the pectoral-fin base, and a fourth from the middle of the spinous portion of the dorsal fin following the dorsal profile to the upper part of caudal peduncle; pectoral fins yellow.
This species was previously known as Cheilodactylus gibbosus (Ludt et al. 2019).

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Goniistius gibbosus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 01 Mar 2024,

Magpie Morwong, Goniistius gibbosus (Richardson 1841)

More Info


Endemic to Western Australia, from the Recherche Archipelago to Shark Bay. Inhabits shallow protected reefs and sandy areas, sometimes entering estuaries.


Dorsal fin XVII, 31-32; Anal fin III, 8.

Species Citation

Cheilodactylus gibbosus Richardson 1841, Proc. Zool. Soc. London 9: 21. Type locality: Irwin Inlet and Swan River, Western Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Magpie Morwong, Goniistius gibbosus (Richardson 1841)


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

Burridge, C.P. & White, R.W.G. 2000. Molecular phylogeny of the antitropical subgenus Goniistius (Perciformes: Cheilodactylidae: Cheilodactylus): evidence for multiple transequatoral divergences and non-monophyly. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 70(3): 435-458

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp. (as Cheilodactylus gibbosus)

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

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. 2001. Biodiversity of shallow reef fish assemblages in Western Australia using a rapid censusing technique. Records of the Western Australian Museum 20: 247-270. (as Cheilodactylus gibbosus)

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 gibbosus)

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

Kimura, K., Imamura, H. & Kawai, T. 2018. Comparative morphology and phylogenetic systematics of the families Cheilodactylidae and Latridae (Perciformes: Cirrhitoidea), and proposal of a new classification. Zootaxa 4536(1): 1-72.

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

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 gibbosus)

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 gibbosus)

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,

Randall, J.E. 1983. A review of the fishes of the subgenus Goniistius, genus Cheilodactylus, with description of a new species from Easter Island and Rapa. Occasional Papers of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum 25: 1-24

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Richardson, J. 1841. On some new or little known fishes from Australian seas. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 9: 21-22 See ref at BHL

Richardson, J. 1842. Description of Australian fish. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London 3(pt 1) (art. 5): 69-131, Pls. 4-6. See ref at BHL

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 gibbosus)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37377010

Depth:0-20 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:30 cm TL


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CAAB distribution map