Bigscale Bullseye, Pempheris multiradiata Klunzinger 1879

Other Names: Big-scaled Bullseye, Common Bullseye, Large-scaled Bullseye

A Bigscale Bullseye, Pempheris multiradiata, at Bare Island, Botany Bay, New South Wales, May 2016. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike


A pale to dark purplish-brown bullseye, sometimes silvery below, with 8–10 narrow stripes along the sides, and dusky to dark fins. Juveniles are mostly translucent with a bronze to yellowish tinge above, a black leading edge on the dorsal fin, a black tip on the anal fin, and yellow pelvic fins with black tips.  

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Pempheris multiradiata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Jun 2024,

Bigscale Bullseye, Pempheris multiradiata Klunzinger 1879

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Widespread in southern Australia from the Newcastle region, New South Wales, to about Jurien Bay, Western Australia, incuding around Tasmania. Inhabits rocky reefs in depths to 70 m, usually above 30 m. The species forms schools beneath ledges and in caves during the day, becoming active at dusk darting about in search of food.


Dorsal fin  V, 11–1; Anal fin III, 32–39; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 16–17; pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral-line acales 42–50.
Body depth 41–52% SL; head length 28–37% SL; eye diameter 42–52% HL; mouth nearly vertical, upper jaw length 50–55% HL; lateral scales large and cycloid, ctenoid and smaller anterior to anal and ventral fins and along back, all weakly attached; ventral fins reaching anus.  Most common member of family in southern waters; juveniles form schools, but adults more frequently seen singularly or in small groups; fish become active at dusk darting about in search of food.  Other common names:  Big scaled Bullseye, Common Bullseye, Large-scaled Bullseye.   Pempheris multiradiatus Klunzinger, 1879,  Anz. Akad. Wiss. Wien, 16(22): 254-261, King George Sound, Western Australia.


Reaches 28 cm.


Pale to dark purplish brown, sometimes silvery below, with 8–10 horizontal darker stripes on sides; fins generally dusky to dark. Juveniles are mostly translucent with a bronze to yellow tinge dorsally; leading edge of dorsal and tips of anal fins black; ventral fins yellow with black tips.  


Feeds on small crustaceans (especially amphipods), along with small fishes and the larvae of decapod crustaceans.


The specific name is from the Latin multi- (= many) and radiatus (= rayed), in reference to the this species having more dorsal-fin rays than Pempheris species known when Klunzinger described P. mutiradiata.

Species Citation

Pempheris multiradiatus Klunzinger, Anzeiger der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse, Wien 16(22): 257. Type locality: King George Sound, Western Australai.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Bigscale Bullseye, Pempheris multiradiata Klunzinger 1879


Annese, D.M. & Kingsford, M.J. 2005. Distribution, movements and diet of nocturnal fishes on temperate reefs. Environmental Biology of Fishes 72: 161-174.

Edgar, G.J. 2000. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 544 pp.

Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Pempherididae. pp. 606-611 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.

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.

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.

Jubb, R.N. 1977. A revision of the Australian fishes of the family Pempheridae (Pisces : Perciformes). Unpublished Honours Thesis, Macquarie University, Sydney 62 pp. 14 figs.

Klunzinger, C.B. 1879. Die v. Müller'sche Sammlung Australischer Fische. Anzeiger der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse, Wien 16(22): 254-261.

Klunzinger, C.B. 1880. Die von Müller'sche Sammlung australischer Fische in Stuttgart. Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften. Wein 80(1): 325–430 pls 1–9 See ref at BHL

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

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

Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 2. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 5(4): 510-629 pls 13-14 (described as Pempheris macrolepis) See ref at BHL

Mooi, R.D. 2008. Family Pempheridae. pp. 592-595 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Mooi, R.D. &. Jubb, R.N. 1996. Descriptions of two new species of the genus Pempheris (Pisces: Pempheridae) from Australia, with a provisional key to Australian species. Records of the Australian Museum 48(2): 117-130. DOI: 10.3853/j.0067-1975.48.1996.284

Ogilby, J.D. 1885. Descriptions of three new fishes from Port Jackson. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 10(3): 445-447 (described as Pempheris lineatus) See ref at BHL

Ogilby, J.D. 1913. Edible fishes of Queensland. Part I.--Family Pempheridae. Part II.--The gadopseiform percoids. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 2: 60-80 (as Liopempheris multiradiata)

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 Liopempheris multiradiata)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37357001

Depth:2-70 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:28 cm TL


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