Largescale Grunter, Terapon theraps Cuvier 1829

Other Names: Banded Grunter, Banded Trumpeter, Flagtail Grunter, Flagtail Trumpeter, Large-scaled Grunter-perch, Northern Grunter, Spiky Trumpeter

Juvenile Largescale Grunters, Terapon theraps, sheltering under a boat at the Cobia Hole, Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Anne Hoggett / Lizard Island Field Guide, License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A dusly-green grunter with an iridescent sheen becoming silver-white below, with four broad dusky to blackish stripes along the side, a large black blotch on the dorsal fin, and dark stripes on the tail.  Juveniles are brown with darker stripes, regularly-spaced white spots along the pale areas between the dark stripes, and a striped tail.
Video of juvenile Largescale Grunters hunting through floating mangrove leaf litter in the Cairns City marina, in North Queensland, Australia.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2016, Terapon theraps in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Mar 2024,

Largescale Grunter, Terapon theraps Cuvier 1829

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Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, to northern New South Wales. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific.
Adults often in brackish habitats, including amongst mangroves. Juveniles often shelter beneath floating algae and debris, especially Sargassum, and may be seen far offshore


Dorsal fin XI-XII, 9-11; Anal fin III, 7-9.
Body oval, compressed, robust; lower opercular spine extending well beyond opercular flap; post-temporal bone serrate, exposed posteriorly. 


Dusky green above, white below with an iridescent sheen. Four longitudinal brown stripes extend on the upper side from the head. A large prominent black blotch is on the distal end of the spinous portion of the dorsal fin. Similar brown stripes run across the caudal fin. 



Species Citation

Therapon theraps Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1829, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 3: 129. Type localities: Indian seas (as 'Mer des Indes'), Java, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2016


Australian Faunal Directory

Largescale Grunter, Terapon theraps Cuvier 1829


Allen, D.J. 2011. Terapon theraps. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T187935A8639142. Downloaded on 12 November 2016.

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Blaber, S.J.M., Brewer, D.T. & Harris, A.N. 1994. Distribution, biomass and community structure of demersal fishes of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 45(3): 375-396.

Blaber, S.J.M., Young, J.W. Dunning, M.C. 1985. Community structure and zoogeographic affinities of the coastal fishes of the Dampier region of north-western Australia. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 36: 247-266.

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1829. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 3 500 pp., pls 41-71. 

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp. (as Eutherapon theraps

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp. 

Hutchins, B. 2004. Fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 66: 343–398 

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds) The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp. 

Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 1. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 5(3): 302-444 (as Therapon nigripinnis)

Ramm, D.C., Pender, P.J., Willing, R.S. & Buckworth, R.C.1990. Large-scale spatial patterns of abundance within the assemblage of fish caught by prawn trawlers in Northern Australian waters. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 41(1): 79-95.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. 

Richardson, J. 1842. Contributions to the ichthyology of Australia. Annals and Magazine of Natural History ns 9(56): 120-131 (as Therapon rubricatus)

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84.

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. 

Vari, R.P. 1978. The terapon perches (Percoidei, Terapontidae) a cladistic analysis and taxonomic revision. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 159(5): 175-340 figs 1-94 

Vari, R.P. 2001. Family Terapontidae. pp. 3305-3316 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp. 

Whitley, G.P. 1943. Ichthyological notes and illustrations. Part 2. The Australian Zoologist 10(2): 167-187 figs 1-10 (as Eutherapon theraps)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37321003

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-71 m

Habitat:Inshore, estuaries, mangroves

Max Size:30 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map