Midgley's Grunter, Pingalla midgleyi Allen & Merrick 1984

Other Names: Black Blotch Anal Fin Grunter

Midgley's Grunter, Pingalla midgleyi. Source: Keith Martin. License: all rights reserved

A silvery grunter that is easily recognised by the prominent black blotch on the anal-fin rays. Juveniles have 3 indistinct stripes along the body.

Video of Midgley's Grunter and 4 other grunter species found in Kakadu National Park: Butler's Grunter (Syncomistes butleri), Sooty Grunter (Hephaestus fuliginosus), Barred Grunter (Amniataba percoides) and the Spangled Perch (Leiopotherapon unicolor).

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon, Pingalla midgleyi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2519

Midgley's Grunter, Pingalla midgleyi Allen & Merrick 1984

More Info


Endemic to the Katherine River (132º45´E) and the South Alligator River system (133º08´E), NT; a tropical species inhabiting clear flowing freshwater creeks with large rocky pools and sand bottoms in temperatures from 26-29°C and pH ranging from 4.5-7.0.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin XI-XII, 10-13; Anal fin III, 7; Pectoral fin 12-14; Pelvic fin I, 5; LL 33-37; Transverse scales 4.5-5/1/9-12; Gill rakers 6-9 + 11-13; Vertebrae 10+14.

Body moderately deep, greatest depth 2.3-3.2 in SL, ovate, laterally compressed; dorsal profile gradually curving, more pronounced than ventral profile, convex from snout to interorbital region, then straight to origin of dorsal fin; ventral profile curved from tip of lower jaw to pelvic fin origin, straight from pelvic base to anus. Head relatively short, 2.9-3.5 in SL. Snout blunt, length 2.5-3.0. Nostrils separated by a distance about twice greatest diameter of posterior nostril. Eye width 2.9-3.8.  Mouth small, non-protractile; jaws equal or upper slightly longer, length 3.5-4.5 head length; gape oblique; posterior end of maxillary strongly curved downward, reaching or almost reaching vertical through posterior nostril; teeth flattened with brown tips, depressible and arranged in 2 rows in each jaw, outer row protruding slightly in lateral direction, inner row smaller, less flattened and embedded in fleshy inner surface of mouth; vomer and palatines without teeth. Lacrimal with several small serrations. Preoperculum distinctly serrate; serration largest on angle. Lower opercular spine stronger and longer than other spines, not extending beyond edge of opercular lobe. Posttemporal exposed, serrate posteriorly with scales on side. Supracleithrum exposed.

Scales finely ctenoid; lateral line continuous, smoothly curved; 2-5 additional tubed scales on base of caudal fin; scales above lateral line 4.5-5; scales below lateral line 9-12; predorsal scales to occiput 8-11; sheath scale rows at base of dorsal fin 2; sheath scale rows at base of anal fin 3-4; scale rows on cheek 4.

Dorsal fin continuous, base 1.8-2.0 in SL; spinous portion arched, first spine very short, fourth to sixth spines longest, 1.5-1.9 in head length, those following decreasing gradually in length to penultimate which is shorter than last, longest spine usually longer than longest soft dorsal rays; longest soft dorsal ray 1.8-2.3 in head length; soft dorsal fin rounded. Second anal spine about twice length of first anal spine, length 1.5 to 1.9 in head length, longer and much stronger than third spine, shorter than longest soft anal rays; longest soft anal ray 1.6-2.1 in head length. Pectoral fins pointed, fourth ray longest. Pelvic fins pointed, first soft ray longest and slightly filamentous, but falling short of anus. Caudal fin emarginate.


To 10cm SL.


Generally smoky grey grading to white below, with a pronounced silvery sheen; scales pale whitish with broad dusky grey margins; a pearly-white longitudinal band just below the eye running forward to premaxillary. Some fish, particularly juveniles, have 2-3 faint darkish longitudinal stripes on the upper sides, each about 1-2 scale rows wide, the uppermost just below the dorsal-fin base, middle stripe 2-3 scale rows above the lateral line, and the lowermost stripe below the lateral line for most of its length but corresponding with lateral line on caudal peduncle. 
Fins generally pale ranging from slightly yellow on dorsal, anal and caudal fins to whitish on pelvic fins; prominent large black blotch occupying anterior half of soft anal fin.


Omnivores - feeds mostly on benthic algae and detritus.


Oviparous demersal spawners with breeding believed to occur during the middle of the wet season from December to January.


The species is named midgleyi in honour of Hamar Midgley of Nambour, Queensland, who is responsible for collecting many of the type specimens.

Species Citation

Pingalla midgleyi Allen & Merrick, 1984, The Beagle. Occ. Pap. N. Terr. Mus. 1(8): 76. Type locality: Katherine River, NT.


Martin F. Gomon

Midgley's Grunter, Pingalla midgleyi Allen & Merrick 1984


Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater fishes of Australia. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey.

Allen, G.R. & Merrick, J.R. (1984). A new species of freshwater grunter (Pisces : Terapontidae) from northern Australia. The Beagle. Occ. Pap. N. Terr. Mus. 1(8): 75–80 figs 1–3.

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

Jenkins, A., Kullander, F.F. & Tan, H.H. 2009. Pingalla midgleyi. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 September 2013.

Larson, H.K. & Martin, K.C. (1990). Freshwater Fishes of the Northern Territory. Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences Handbook Series Number 1. Darwin : Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences 102 pp. 73 figs.

Leggett, R. & Merrick, J.R. (1987). Australian Native Fishes for Aquariums.  Artarmon : J.R. Merrick Publications 241 pp. 142 figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37321024

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Habitat:Clear freshwater streams

Max Size:10 cm SL


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