Smooth Cocky Gurnard, Lepidotrigla cf modesta

A Smooth Cocky Gurnard, Lepidotrigla cf modesta, from off Rottnest Island, Western Australia. Source: Martin F. Gomon / Museums Victoria. License: All rights reserved

A small pink gurnard becoming whitish below, with pink dorsal fins, a red white-edged spot on the first dorsal fin, pale pink anal and pelvic fins, and a broad dark red band on the rear half of the caudal fin. The inner surface of the pectoral fin is greenish and encircled with a reddish-orange margin.
This species has long been confused with the Cocky Gurnard, Lepidotrigla modesta.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Lepidotrigla cf modesta in Fishes of Australia, accessed 10 Jun 2023,

Smooth Cocky Gurnard, Lepidotrigla cf modesta

More Info


Great Australian Bight, South Australia, to about Shark Bay, Western Australia, in depths to 300 m.


Dorsal fin VIII–IX + 15–16; Anal fin 16; Caudal fin 11;  Pectoral fin 11 + 3; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 58–61.

Lateral profile of head slightly concave in front of eye; eye diameter 33–37% HL; interorbital extremely depressed; dorsal rim of orbit with 2-3 small spines anteriorly; deep narrow groove above and behind eye, grooves on each side approaching each other on top of head; bony rostrum with several small peripheral spines on each side; mouth length 39–44% HL; underside of lower jaw with several length-wise rugose bony ridges on each side. 

Scales cycloid, weakly attached, not on chest; lateral‑line scales enlarged with prominent side branches for pores, lacking distinct spines. 

First dorsal-fin spine finely serrate, slender; caudal-fin margin weakly concave when folded, truncate when spread; pectoral-fin tip to or just beyond anal-fin origin.


This undescribed species has been misidentified as the western population of the closely related Lepidotrigla modesta, Martin Gomon is currently revising this genus.

Similar Species

Differs from the similar Cocky Gurnard, Lepidotrigla modesta, in having a broad reddish band on the rear half of the caudal fin (vs most of caudal fin red in L. modesta), a reddish-orange margin on the inner surface of the pectoral fin (vs a blue margin in L. modesta),a larger eye (eye diameter 33–37% HL vs 20–32% HL in L. modesta), and fine serrations on the first dorsal-fin spine (vs coarse serrations in L. modesta),


Bray, D.J. 2017

Smooth Cocky Gurnard, Lepidotrigla cf modesta


Gomon, M.F. & Last, P.R. 2008. Family Triglidae. pp. 508-514 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. (p. 510, as Lepidotrigla sp.)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37288037

Depth:15-300 m

Habitat:Soft bottom

Max Size:14 cm SL


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