Silver Spot, Chironemus maculosus Richardson 1850

A Silverspot, Chironemus maculosus. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved


A greyish-white to brownish‑red kelpfish with large brown to black blotches above and smaller blotches or spots below, a dark band below each eye, a bright silver spot on the upper free edge of each opercle, and dark spots on spines and rays, forming bands in some areas on the fins.

Rarely seen by divers due to its excellent camouflage.

The Silver Spot was previously known as Threpterius maculosus

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Chironemus maculosus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Jul 2024,

Silver Spot, Chironemus maculosus Richardson 1850

More Info


Confined to southern Australia from Jervis Bay, New South Wales, to Rottnest Island,  and possibly Port Denison, Western Australia, and north-eastern Tasmania. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Zealand. Inhabits weedy areas on exposed rocky reefs - more common in the central portion of its range.


Dorsal fin XIV, 18-19; Anal fin III, 8; Caudal fin 15-16; Pelvic fin I, 5; Pectoral fin 14; Lateral line 58-60.
Body moderately elongate, of moderate depth (approx. 35% SL), fairly compressed; caudal peduncle shallow. Head large (approx. 30% SL), very depressed, dorsal profile strongly concave above eyes; nape distinctly convex; snout short, broadly pointed; tubular nostrils with tufts of cirri; eyes large (approx. 26% HL); mouth rather large, reaching below eyes, past vertical through centre; small sharp teeth in single row laterally on jaws, several rows near symphysis, single row of teeth on vomer. 
Scales of moderate size, cycloid, covering body and posterior part of head; lateral line straight. 
Single, long based, dorsal fin with tall, strong spinous section separated by shallow notch from soft portion, base of soft portion nearly as long as that of spinous portion, deeply incised membranes behind each spine normally produced into small flag at spine tip; anal fin small, truncate, based below anterior half of soft dorsal; caudal fin slightly rounded. Pectoral fins large with branched rays dorsally and simple, thicker, unbranched rays below, lower rays extending distinctly beyond edge of membrane, some beyond tips of branched rays. Pelvic fins small, based just below and behind pectoral fin bases.

Species Citation

Threpterius maculosus Richardson, 1850, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond 18: 70, pl. 2(1, 2).Type locality: King George Sound, WA.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Silver Spot, Chironemus maculosus Richardson 1850


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

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Oplegnathidae and Chironemidae. pp. 619-622 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

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

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

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

Kuiter, R.H. 1994. Family Chironemidae. pp. 638-641, figs 561-563 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 Threpterius maculosus)

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs. (as Threpterius maculosus)

Meléndez, R. & Dyer, B.S. 2010. Review of the southern hemisphere fish family Chironemidae (Perciformes: Cirrhitoidei). Revista de Biología Marina y Oceanografía 45: 683-693

Paulin, C., Stewart, A., Roberts, C. & McMillan, P. 1989. New Zealand fish: a complete guide. National Museum of New Zealand Miscellaneous Series 19: 1-279.

Richardson, J. 1850. Notices of Australian fish. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 18: 58-77 figs 1-3

Scott, T.D., Glover, C.J.M. & Southcott, R.V. 1974. The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of South Australia. Adelaide : Government Printer 392 pp. figs. (as Threpterius maculosus)

Swinney, G.N. 1982. Some Richardson type specimens in a collection of Australian fishes, with notes on their collector Robert Neill. Archives of Natural History 11(1): 17-25 figs 1-4 (as Threpterius maculosus)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37375002

Depth:1-10 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:33 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map