False Kelpfish, Sebastiscus marmoratus (Cuvier 1829)

A False Kelpfish, Sebastiscus marmoratus, at Green Point, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, July 1980, depth 12 m. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A yellowish-brown, reddish to blackish sebastid mottled with white to dark blotches, a series of dark blotches or saddles along the back, white spots scattered on the side below the lateral line, and no distinct white spots above the lateral line.
Introduced to Australia, presumably via the ballast water of ships. The sepcies was first recorded from Watsons Bay, Sydney Harbour, July 1980 (based on an image by Rudie Kuiter). In November 2018, a second specimen was taken on hook and line in the Port Adelaide inner harbour, South Australia.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Sebastiscus marmoratus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Nov 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3136

False Kelpfish, Sebastiscus marmoratus (Cuvier 1829)

More Info


Introduced to Sydney Harbour via the ballast water in ships. In November 2018, an individual was caught in the inner harbour at Port Adelaide, Gulf St Vincent, South Australia. The False Kelpfish is native to Vietnam eastwards to the Philippines, and north to China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.


Dorsal fin XII, 10–13; Anal fin III, 5; Pectoral fin 17–19; Pelvic fin I, 5. 
Body moderately deep; upper rear margin of pectoral fin nearly straight; no suborbital spine or suborbital ridge; no skin flap at axil of pectoral fin; caudal fin rounded. 

Species Citation

Sebastes marmoratus Cuvier, in Cuvier  & Valenciennes 1829, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons Vol. 4: 345. Type locality: Japan.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

False Kelpfish, Sebastiscus marmoratus (Cuvier 1829)


Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1829. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 4 518 pp. pls 72-99. See ref at BHL

Hansen, H. & Karlsbakk, E. 2018. Pacific false kelpfish, Sebastiscus marmoratus (Cuvier, 1829) (Scorpaeniformes, Sebastidae) found in Norwegian waters. BioInvasions Records 7: 73-78. https://doi.org/10.3391/bir.2018.7.1.11

Jordan, D.S. & Starks, E.C. 1904. A review of the scorpaenid fishes of Japan. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 27(1351): 91-175 figs 1-21 pls 1-2 

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

Poss, S.G. 1999. Families Scorpaenidae, Caracanthidae, Aploactinidae. pp. 2291-2358 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37287112

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:0-50 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:30 cm TL


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