Tuberculate Flathead, Sorsogona tuberculata (Cuvier 1829)

Other Names: Heart-headed Flathead, Tuberculated Flathead

Sorsogonia tuberculata. Source: John E. Randall. License: CC BY NC-SA/3.0

Large elongate, slightly depressed flathead, pectoral fins long, reaching beyond anal-fin origin. Body overall tan or pale olive-brown above with 3-4 indistinct darker bands across back, pale below. Pectoral and pelvic fins with several distinct black bars, and white margins.

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CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research, Sorsogona tuberculata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

Tuberculate Flathead, Sorsogona tuberculata (Cuvier 1829)

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Max Length Australia



Continental shelf of northern Australia, from Dampier, Western Australia to Moreton Bay, Queensland. Recorded widely internationally, including the Persian Gulf, northern Indian Ocean, Malaysia, Gulf of Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Demersal in bays and coastal waters to depths of about 80 m.


Meristic counts: Dorsal fin IX or VIII, 14; Anal fin 10-12 (mostly 11); Pectoral fin 19-22 (usually 21); Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales (pored) 47-54 (usually 51 or 52).

Body elongate, slightly depressed. Head large (length ~41% SL), moderately depressed; supraorbital and suborbital ridges bearing small spines or serrae (some bicuspid); eyes large (~10% HL); preocular spines 2-6; teeth on vomer in two separate patches. Preopercular spines 4 to 9, decreasing in size ventrally, upper with accessory spine on base; interopercular flap absent; gill rakers on lower limb of first arch rudimentary, stumpy rather than long and slender, total rakers on first arch 7-9 (usually 8). Scales small, finely ctenoid dorsally, cycloid ventrally, posterior edge of breast scales elongated; scales in rows above anterior lateral line sometimes bearing a hook or tubercle. Oblique scale rows slanting backward above lateral line about equal to number of lateral-line scales. Lateral-line scales 47 to 54 (usually 51 or 52), anterior 12 to 28 bearing a small spine or ridge. First dorsal fin spinous with short base, first spine very short, detached, following spines much longer. Second dorsal fin anterior rays longest, nearly as long as longest first dorsal spines. Anal fin similar in shape, opposite and slightly longer-based than second dorsal fin. Caudal fin slightly rounded. Pectoral fins moderately elongate. Pelvic fins long, reaching past anal fin origin.


Maximum length at least 15 cm TL, commonly to 12 cm TL.


Tan or light olive dorsally with 3 or 4 dark bands crossing back, whitish below. Caudal fin whitish with faint brown spots and bars; pectoral and pelvic fins with several black bands, margins whitish; dorsal fins white, barred with brown checks along spines and rays and extending onto fin membrane.




Commonly taken in trawls.


Not evaluated.

Species Citation

Platycephalus tuberculatus Cuvier, In Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1829, Hist. Nat. Poiss 4: Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.


CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research

Tuberculate Flathead, Sorsogona tuberculata (Cuvier 1829)


Beaufort, L.F., De & Briggs, J.C. (1962) The Fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. XI. Brill, Leiden. 481 pp.

Eschmeyer, W.N. (2008) The Catalogue of Fishes on-line. (California Academy of Sciences: San Francisco) Available from: 10 March, 2008).

Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. (2006) Fishes. In: P.L. Beesley & A. Wells (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia Volume 35. Parts 1-3. Australian Biological Resources Study and CSIRO Publishing, 2248 pp.

Knapp, L.W. (1999) Family Platycephalidae, flatheads, pp. 2385-2421. In: K.E. Carpenter & V.H. Niem (eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 4: Bony Fishes Part 2 (Mugilidae to Carangidae). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.C. (1985) Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra, C.S.I.R.O. Division of Fisheries Research, 375 pp.

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CAAB Code:37296030

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