Longnose Sooty Grunter, Hephaestus epirrhinos Vari & Hutchins 1978

Other Names: Long-nose Sooty Grunter

Longnose Sooty Grunter, Hephaestus epirrhinos. Source: Mark Allen. License: All rights reserved


A large elongate grunter with a distinctive long, slightly concave snout found only in the eastern Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Body overall dark greenish-grey, with broad blackish margins and golden to bronze centres on scales. Juveniles are overall greenish with irregular wavy dark lines on the upper sides and tail base.

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray, Hephaestus epirrhinos in Fishes of Australia, accessed 09 Jun 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2515

Longnose Sooty Grunter, Hephaestus epirrhinos Vari & Hutchins 1978

More Info


Endemic to a small region of the eastern Kimberley, Western Australia, from the Drysdale River (15º15´S) and Palmoondoera Creek (15º12´S).

This tropical species inhabits small to large pools in slow-flowing freshwater streams and major river channels with rocky bottoms. Large individuals occur in large pools with deeper areas.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin XI-XIII, 11-13; Anal fin III, 7-9; Pectoral fin 14-16; Lateral line scales 48-54; Pelvic fin I, 5; Vertebrae 10+15; Gill rakers 6-9 + 1 + 14-17; Transverse scales 8-9/1/15-17.

Body relatively shallow, 2.60-3.25 in SL, compressed, oblong to ovate; dorsal profile more pronounced than ventral, nearly straight from snout to dorsal origin; ventral profile only slightly curved from tip of lower jaw to pelvic insertion, profile straight from pelvic fin insertion to anus in juveniles, slightly curved in adults. Head length 2.30-2.70 in SL (37-43.5 %SL); snout length 2.60-3.05 in HL (32.8-38.5% HL). Nostrils distant, separated by a distance equal to one-half eye diameter. Eye width 3.95-7.4 in HL (13.5-25.3 %HL). Interorbital region smooth. Lower jaw slightly longer than upper; gape oblique; maxillary reaching to vertical through posterior nostril; teeth relatively small, in bands, outer row enlarged, brown tipped; internal to this several series of colorless teeth embedded in flesh of mouth; no teeth on vomer or palatines. Lacrimal (first infraorbital) elongate with 3-4 serrations along posterior edge. Preoperculum serrate; serrations largest on vertical edge. Lower opercular spine longer and stronger, not extending beyond edge of opercular lobe. Posttemporal exposed, serrate posteriorly, not covered with scales. Cleithrum exposed, weakly serrate posteriorly, with few or no scales on side. Supracleithrum exposed.

Scales finely ctenoid; lateral line continuous, smoothly curved; 5-9 caudal scales; 10-14 predorsal scales to occiput; cheek scales in 6-7 rows; 2-4 rows of scales in sheath at base of spinous dorsal fin, sheath extending to seventh to last dorsal ray; 4-5 rows of scales in sheath at base of anal fin, sheath extending to fifth to last anal ray.

Dorsal fin continuous, base 2.07-2.33 in SL; spinous portion arched, fifth spine longest, 2.80-4.90 in HL, those following decreasing in length gradually to penultimate which is subequal to last; length of longest dorsal-fin ray 2.10-2.95 in HL, soft dorsal obtusely rounded. Second anal-fin spine longest, 2.30-3.75 in HL, twice length of first, slightly longer than, but much stronger than third, shorter than longest anal ray, 2.15-3.10 in HL, soft anal-fin margin rounded. Pectoral fin asymmetrically pointed, fourth to sixth rays longest. Pelvic fins pointed; first ray longest in juveniles, subequal to second ray in adults, reaching two-thirds of distance to anus. Caudal fin emarginate.


To 42 cm SL


Head, body, and fins of adults black, blackish brown, or blackish green with scale centres paler. Juveniles green with dark green longitudinal vermiculations on upper portions of head and body and along caudal peduncle; vermiculations continue basally onto dorsal and caudal fins.


Omnivorous, feeding mainly on crustaceans, insects and small fishes.


Little is known of the reproductive biology of this species, but it is likely to produce demersal eggs that are guarded and fanned by the male parent.


  • IUCN Red List : Near Threatened (Lower Risk)
  • Etymology

    The specific name epirrhinos is from the Greek for long-nosed, in reference to the elongate snout of this species.

    Species Citation

    Hephaestus epirrhinos Vari & Hutchins, 1978, Am. Mus. Novit. 2654: 4. Type locality: Drysdale River, Western Australia.


    Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray

    Longnose Sooty Grunter, Hephaestus epirrhinos Vari & Hutchins 1978


    Allen, G.R. 1982. Inland Fishes of Western Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 86 pp. 6 figs 20 pls.

    Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

    Axelrod, H.R., W.E. Burgess, N. Pronek & J.G. Walls. 1991. Dr. Axelrod's Atlas of freshwater aquarium fishes. 6th Ed. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey.

    Merrick, J.R. & G.E. Schmida. 1984. Australian freshwater fishes: biology and management. Griffin Press Ltd., South Australia. 409 p.

    Morgan, D., Cheinmora, D., Charles, A., Nulgit, P. & Kimberley Language Resource Centre 2006. Fishes of the King Edward and Carson Rivers with their Belaa and Ngarinyin names. Centre for Fish & Fisheries Research, Murdoch University / Kimberley Language Resource Centre. 69 pp.

    Morgan, D.L. 2010. Fishes of the King Edward River in the Kimberley region, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 25: 351–368.

    Morgan, D.L., Allen, G.R., Pusey, B.J. & Burrows, D.W. 2011. A review of the freshwater fishes of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Zootaxa 2816: 1-64.

    Unmack, P.J. 2001. Biogeography of Australian freshwater fishes. Journal of Biogeography 28: 1053-1089.

    Vari, R.P. & Hutchins, J B. 1978. New species of terapon perches (Percoidei, Terapontidae) from Australia. Am. Mus. Novit. 2654: 1–8 figs 1–9

    Wager, R. 1996. Hephaestus epirrhinos. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. . Downloaded on 03 August 2013.

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37321013

    Conservation:IUCN Near Threatened

    Habitat:Freshwater rivers and streams

    Max Size:42 cm SL


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