Angalarri Grunter, Scortum neili Allen, Larson & Midgley 1993

Other Names: Neil's Grunter, Spring Bream

An Angalarri Grunter, Scortum neili, in an aquarium. Source: Dave Wilson / License: All rights reserved

A rare silvery-grey grunter often with one or two randomly scattered black blotches and a series of faint pale vertical bars on the sides, and a silvery stripe just below the eye.

Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2017, Scortum neili in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024,

Angalarri Grunter, Scortum neili Allen, Larson & Midgley 1993

More Info


Restricted to the East Baines River and the Angalarri River, in the Victoria River drainage, Northern Territory.

Inhabits narrow, flowing freshwater sections of rivers and streams with deep, wide pools joined by very shallow rocky sections and shaded by overhanging trees. The pools may have silty, sandy, and pebbly substrates, along with submerged tree roots, large rocks and ledges, with water temperatures of 21- 28°C.


Dorsal fin XIII, 9-12; Anal fin III, 7-9; Pectoral fin 16-17; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 49-52; Transverse scales below the lateral line 17-24; Gill rakers 11-13 + 25-27 = 37-40; Vertebrae 11+14.

Body moderately deep, 2.8 to 3.0 in SL, ovate, laterally compressed; dorsal profile curving abruptly, much more pronounced than ventral profile, straight from snout to interorbital region, then convexly curving to origin of dorsal fin; ventral profile only slightly curved from tip of lower jaw to pelvic fin origin, straight from pelvic base to anus. Head relatively short, 2.9-3.4 in SL. Snout more or less pointed, length 3.3-3.8. Nostrils separated by a distance about equal to greatest diameter of posterior nostril, with fleshy rim, that of anterior nostril forming an enlarged flap posteriorly. Eye width 3.5-5.2, interorbital width 3.1-3.5. Mouth small, nonprotractile; jaws equal, or upper jaw just slightly longer, length 3.3-3.6; gape nearly horizontal; upper posterior edge of maxillary hidden under lacrimal; maxillary reaching to below anterior edge of eye or slightly posteriorly; teeth somewhat flattened with pointed tips, depressible and arranged in broad band in each jaw, outer row much enlarged compared to inner teeth, inner band less flattened and embedded in fleshy inner surface of mouth; vomer with teeth in adults; palatines without teeth. Lacrimal with several small serrations. Preoperculum distinctly serrate; serrations largest on angle. A pair of flattened spines on upper edge of opercle, the lower spine stronger and longer, but not extending beyond edge of opercular lobe. Post temporal and supracleithrum exposed, their margins smooth or weakly crenulate.

Scales relatively small, finely ctenoid; predorsal scales to occiput 18-20; sheath scale rows at base of dorsal fin 1-3; sheath scale rows at base of anal fin 3-4; scale rows on cheek 5-6; scales in longitudinal series above lateral line 62-73.

Dorsal fin continuous, base 1.7-1.8 in SL. ; spinous portion arched, first spine very short, fourth to sixth spines longest, 1.7 to 2.5 in HL, those following decreasing gradually in length to penultimate which is shorter than last, longest dorsal spine usually longer than longest soft dorsal rays; longest soft rays 2.0-2.4 in HL; soft dorsal rounded. Second anal spine about twice length of first anal spine, longer and much stronger than third spine, second 1.6-2.0 in HL, slightly longer than longest soft anal rays; longest soft anal ray 1.9-2.2. Pectoral fins pointed, fourth or fifth ray longest. Ventral fins pointed, first soft ray longest and slightly filamentous, but not reaching anus. Caudal fin emarginate.


To 24 cm SL.


Uniform silvery-grey, or with one or two randomly scattered black blotches on side, varying in size from less than pupil diameter to greater than eye width; about 10 pale vertical bars on sides in life. Silvery stripe across the lacrimal bone, just below eye.


Herbivore/detritivore - feeds on algae and other vegetation.


Little is known of the reproductive biology of this species.


Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2000 (Northern Territory): Vulnerable.


The Traditional Owners of the country where this species occurs refer to it as Spring Bream 


The species is named neili in honour of the Queensland resident Mr Arthur Neil, who collected most of the type specimens with the assistance of S. H. Midgley.

Species Citation

Scortum neili  Allen, Larson & Midgley, 1993, The Beagle. Rec. Mus. Art. Gall. N. Terr. 10(1): 71, fig. 1. Type locality: Limestone Gorge, East Baines River, Northern Territory [16°02'S, 130°24'E].


Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Angalarri Grunter, Scortum neili Allen, Larson & Midgley 1993


Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications 240 pp., 63 pls. (as Scortum sp.)

Allen, G.R., Larson, H.K. & Midgley, S.H. 1993. A new species of Scortum Whitley (Pisces: Terapontidae) from the Northern Territory, Australia. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 10(1): 71-74 

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp. 

Commonwealth of Australia. 2017. Judbarra / Gregory National Park Northern Territory 2015. A Bush Blitz survey report, 37 pp.

Corbett, L., Batterham, R.,Sewell, S., Welch, M., Richards, G. & Larson, H.K. 2002. The Angalarri grunter, Scortum neili Allen, Larson and Midgley (Teleostei: Terapontidae): description of adults and their habitat. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 18: 57-62 

Hector, I.K., Kalabidi, G.J., Banjo, S., Dodd, T.N.N., Wavehill, R.J.W., et al. 2012. Bilinarra, Gurindji and Malngin Plants and Animals: Aboriginal knowledge of Flora and Fauna from Judbarra / Gregory National Park, Nitjpurru, Kalkarindji and Daguragu, North Australia. Diwurruwurru-jaru Aboriginal Corporation and Mimi Aboriginal Art and Craft, Katherine.

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management. Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp. figs 280 col. figs. (as Scortum sp. 1).

Pusey, B.J., Burrows, D.W., Kennard, M.J., Perna, C.N., Unmack, P.J., Allsop, Q. & Hammer, M.P. 2017. Freshwater fishes of northern Australia. Zootaxa 4253(1): 001–104 DOI: Abstract

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

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37321032

Conservation:NT Vulnerable

Habitat:Clear freshwater streams

Max Size:25 cm SL


Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map