Little Weed Whiting, Neoodax balteatus (Valenciennes 1840)

Other Names: Ground Mullet, Little Rock Whiting, Little Rock-whiting, Little Weed-whiting

A male (teminal phase) Little Weed Whiting, Neoodax balteatus, in Chowder Bay, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, June 2018. Source: John Sear / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A greenish to brownish or bluish weed whiting. Juveniles and females are greenish to brown becoming pale below, with a dark midlateral stripe from the snout tip to the tail base. Males are reddish-brown or bluish with red and blue wavy lines on the head, blue fin margins, and sometimes pale blotches along the back and a dark margin on the dorsal, caudal and anal fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Neoodax balteatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jun 2024,

Little Weed Whiting, Neoodax balteatus (Valenciennes 1840)

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Widespread in southern Australia from Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, to the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia, including Tasmania. Inhabits estuaries and inshore sheltered reefs in bays and harbours, often around seagrass beds or amongst macroalgae.


Dorsal fin  XV-XVII, 11-14; Anal fin II-III, 11-14; Caudal fin 12; Pectoral fin 13-16; Pelvic fin I, 4; Lateral line scales 33-38.


Feeds on benthic crustaceans (mostly amphipods), bivalve and gastropod molluscs and polychaete worms.


The specific name is from the Latin balteatus (= belted), in reference to the dark midlateral stripe of juveniles and females.

Species Citation

Odax balteatus Valenciennes, in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1840, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons Vol. 14: 303. Type locality: Tasmania.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Little Weed Whiting, Neoodax balteatus (Valenciennes 1840)


Castelnau, F.L. de 1872. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 1. The Melbourne fish market. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 1: 29-242 1 pl. (described as Odax obscurus) See ref at BHL

Castelnau, F.L. de 1875. Researches on the fishes of Australia. Intercolonial Exhibition Essays. 2. pp. 1–52 in, Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 : Official Record. Melbourne. (described as Neoodax waterhousii) See ref online

Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2nd edn, 624 pp. 

Edgar, G.J., Last, P.R. & Wells, M.W. 1982. Coastal Fishes of Tasmania and Bass Strait. Hobart : Cat & Fiddle Press 175 pp. 

Edgar, G.J. & Shaw, C. 1995. The production and tropic ecology of shallow-water fish assemblages in Southern Australia. II. Diets of fishes and tropic relationships between fishes and benthos at Western Port, Victoria. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 194: 83-106.

Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Odacidae. pp. 700-710 figs 612-621 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. 

Gomon, M.F. & Paxton, J.R. 1986. A revision of the Odacidae, a temperate Australian-New Zealand labroid fish family. Indo-Pacific Fishes 8: 1-57 figs 1-21 pls 1-6

Gomon. M.F. 2008. Family Odacidae. pp. 659-667 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

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. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs. 

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

Kuiter, R.H. 2010. Labridae fishes: wrasses. Seaford, Victoria, Australia : Aquatic Photographics 398 pp.

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

MacArthur, L.D. & Hyndes, G.A. 2001. Differential use of seagrass assemblages by a suite of odacid species. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 52: 79-90. 

MacArthur, L.D. & Hyndes, G.A. 2007. Varying foraging strategies of Labridae in seagrass habitats: herbivory in temperate seagrass meadows? Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 340: 247-258.

Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 3. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 6(1): 1-138 pls 1-2 (described as Odax brunneus) See ref at BHL

Richardson, J. 1840. On some new species of fishes from Australia. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 8: 25-30 (described as Odax algensis) See ref at BHL

Russell, B., Clements, K.D., Choat, J.H., Rocha, L.A., Myers, R., Lazuardi, M.E., Muljadi, A., Pardede, S. & Rahardjo, P. 2012. Neoodax balteatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T190676A17773724. Downloaded on 24 June 2018.

Scott, J.K. 1976. A review of the fish genus Neoodax (Odacidae) of Western Australia with descriptions of a closely allied new genus and species. Records of the Western Australian Museum 4(4): 349-373 figs 1-6 See ref online

Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1840. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 14 464 pp. pls 389-420. See ref at BHL

Waite, E.R. 1921. Illustrated catalogue of the fishes of South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum 2(1): 1-208 293 figs pl. 1 (as Odax waterhousii) See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37385005

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-22 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:16 cm SL


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