Bigeye Ocean Perch, Helicolenus barathri (Hector 1875)

Other Names: Coral Cod, Coral Perch, Ocean Perch, Red Gurnard Perch, Red Perch, Red Rock Perch, Sea Perch

A Bigeye Ocean Perch, Helicolenus barathri, from a seamount in the Tasman Sea, May 2003. Source: Robin McPhee / NORFANZ Founding Parties. License: All rights reserved

A pinkish to red ocean perch becoming paler below, with indistinct darker bands and speckles sometimes forming irregular lines along the sides, greenish flecks on the scales, and a large eye.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Helicolenus barathri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 May 2024,

Bigeye Ocean Perch, Helicolenus barathri (Hector 1875)

More Info


East of Brisbane, Queensland, to eastern South Australia, including seamounts off New South Wales; also off Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the temperate, south-west Pacific (Lord Howe Rise, south of Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Ridge, just south of Norfolk Island, New Zealand and Chatham Islands).
Inhabits flat, hard bottoms in upper continental slope waters including seamounts, ridges and rises in the Tasman Sea.


Dorsal fin XII, 12-14; Anal fin III, 5; Caudal fin 13; Pectoral fin 18-20; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral-line scaels 28-29; Gill rakers 4-6 + 14-17.  
Head moderately large (37-43% SL); eyes large (34 41% HL), not protruding above dorsal profile; head relatively smooth, five prominent spines on posterior edge of each preopercle, dorsalmost rather small, at end of low, spineless, horizontal ridge below eye; fleshy flaps absent.  
Scales moderately small, ctenoid, covering body and most of head; lateral line nearly straight, 46 52 scale rows above lateral line; interorbital scaleless. 
Pelvic fins reaching beyond anus.  


Pink to red above, with vague darker bands and speckling, occasionally forming irregular lines; pale pink or white below. Pectoral base and belly sometimes silvery.


An important commercial fish with a mild-tasting white flesh.

Similar Species

The Bigeye Ocean Perch differs from the Reef Ocean Perch, Helicolenus percoides, in having the eye diameter 34-41% of head length, and usually 13-14 soft dorsal-fin rays, vs eye diameter 27-33% of head length, and usually 11-12 soft dorsal fin rays in H. percoides.

Species Citation

Scorpaena barathri Hector 1875, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 4 15(11): 80. Type locality: off Cape Farewell, New Zealand, depth 400 fathoms.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Bigeye Ocean Perch, Helicolenus barathri (Hector 1875)


Crec'hriou, R., Zintzen, V., Moore, L. & Roberts, C.D. 2015. Length-weight relationships of 33 fish species from New Zealand. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 31(3): 558-561

Hector, J. 1875. Descriptions of five new species of fishes obtained in the New Zealand seas by H.M.S. Challenger Expedition July 1874. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 4 15(11): 78-82 Ref. at BHL

Hector, J. 1875. Notes on New Zealand ichthyology. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 7(34): 239–250 pls 10–11 Ref. at BHL

Johnson, J.W. & Motomura, H. 2008. Family Sebastidae. pp. 496-498 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

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

Paul, L.J. & Horn, P.L. 2009. Age and growth of sea perch (Helicolenus percoides) from two adjacent areas off the east coast of South Island, New Zealand. Fisheries Research 95: 169–180 

Paulin, C. 1989. Redescription of Helicolenus percoides (Richardson) and H. barathri (Hector) from New Zealand (Pisces; Scorpaenidae). Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 19: 319-325 

Smith, P.J., Struthers, C.D., Paulin, C.D., McVeagh, S.M. & Daley, R.K. 2009. Shallow genetic and morphological divergence among seaperches in the South Pacific (family Scorpaenidae; genus Helicolenus). Journal of Fish Biology 74: 1104–1128 

Struthers, C.D. & Motomura, H. 2015. 153 Family Sebastidae, pp. 1078-1082, in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds) The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152.

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37287093

Depth:235-1100 m

Fishing:Commercial fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:40 cm TL

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