Longspine Flathead, Platycephalus grandispinis Cuvier 1829

Other Names: Long-spine Flathead, Long-spined Flathead, Spiky Flathead, Western Sand Flathead

A Longspine Flathead, Platycephalus grandispinis, in Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, New South Wales. Source: Dave Harasti / http://www.daveharasti.com/. License: All rights reserved

A yellowish-grey to brown flathead, with numerous yellow spots and no cross bands, caudal fin yellow above and blackish below with no discrete dark blotches along posterior margin, brown spots on the dorsal and pectoral fins, and a whitish anal fin.
In Australia, this species has previously been identified as Platycephalus longispinis - a junior synonym of P. grandispinis (Imamura 2013).

Cite this page as:
CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research & Bray, D.J. 2017, Platycephalus grandispinis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Jan 2020,

Longspine Flathead, Platycephalus grandispinis Cuvier 1829

More Info


Widespread in inshore and continental shelf waters of Australia from Bundaberg, Queensland, to about Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, and  Investigator Strait, South Australia, to Shark Bay, Western Australia. The species does not occur in Tasmania. Demersal on soft bottoms at depths of 12-104 m, preferring offshore waters.


Dorsal fin I, VII, 13-14; Anal fin 14; Pectoral fin 19 or 20; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales (pored) 70-82.

Body elongate, slightly depressed. Head large (length 31-32% SL), moderately depressed, with several prominent, mostly spineless ridges; eyes large (19-20% HL) with long iris lappet; mouth moderately large, extending to about level of anterior margin of eye; teeth small, villiform, two small patches of villiform teeth on vomer, no greatly enlarged canines; two strong preopercular spines at angle of preopercle, lower greatly enlarged, acute and grooved basally, more than 3 times length of upper; 5-7 gill rakers on lower limb, 14-19 on upper limb of first gill arch; interopecular flap absent.

Scales small, finely ctenoid, covering body and most of head behind eyes; lateral line scales subequal in size to adjacent scales on side, two anteriormost scales with small spine or ridge. 

First dorsal fin spinous with short base, first spine very short, detached, following spines much longer, last spine in front of second dorsal fin minute. Second dorsal fin with moderately long base, anterior ray longest, unbranched. Anal fin similar in shape, opposite and slightly longer-based than second dorsal fin. Caudal fin truncate. Pectoral fins short and shallowly rounded. Pelvic fins long, based below centre of pectoral fins, reaching anal-fin origin.


Maximum length at least 34 cm TL.


Yellowish-grey to brown dorsally, with numerous yellow spots, no cross bands; whitish ventrally. Caudal-fin upper half yellow, blackish lower half, no discrete dark blotches along posterior margin; dorsal and pectoral fins with brown spots on the spines and rays; anal fin whitish.


Presumably primarily fisheaters, also feeds on large benthic crustaceans.


Species Citation

Platycephalus longispinus Macleay, 1884, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 9(1): 170. Type locality: off Port Jackson, New South Wales.


CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research & Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Longspine Flathead, Platycephalus grandispinis Cuvier 1829


Allan, R. 2002. Australian Fish and How to Catch Them. Sydney : New Holland Publishers (Australia) 394 pp.(as Platycephalus longispinis)

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp (as Platycephalus longispinis)

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

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. (as Platycephalus longispinis)

Imamura, H. 1996. Phylogeny of the family Platycephalidae and related taxa (Pisces: Scorpaeniformes). Species Diversity 1(2): 123-233 (as Platycephalus longispinis)

Imamura, H. 2006. Rediagnosis of the marbled flathead, Platycephalus marmoratus (Actinopterygii: Teleostei: Platycephalidae), with comments on the composition of the type series. Species Diversity 11: 295-306.

Imamura, H. 2013. Validity of Platycephalus grandispinis Cuvier, 1829, with priority over Platycephalus longispinis Macleay, 1884 (Actinopterygii: Scorpaeniformes: Platycephalidae). Species Diversity 18(2): 183-192.

Imamura, H. 2015. Taxonomic revision of the flathead fish genus Platycephalus Bloch, 1785 (Teleostei: Platycephalidae) from Australia, with description of a new species. Zootaxa 3904(2): 151-207. Abstract

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762 (as Platycephalus longispinis)

Keenan, C.P. 1991. Phylogeny of Australian species of flatheads (Teleostei, Platycephalidae) as determined by allozyme electrophoresis. Journal of Fish Biology 39 (Supplement A): 237-249 (as Platycephalus longispinis)

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

Macleay, W. 1884. Notices of new fishes. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 9(1): 170-172 (as Platycephalus longispinisSee ref. at BHL

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp. (as Platycephalus longispinis)

Platell, M. & Potter, I.C. 1998. Distributions, size compositions and diets of two abundant benthic ambush-feeding teleosts in coastal waters of south-western Australia. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 78(2): 587-608 (as Platycephalus longispinis)

Platell, M.E. & I.C. Potter 2001. Partitioning of food resources amongst 18 abundant benthic carnivorous fish species in marine waters on the lower west coast of Australia. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 261: 31-54 (as Platycephalus longispinis)

Roughley, T.C. 1957. Fish and Fisheries of Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 341 pp. (as Longitrudis longispinis)

Whitley, G.P. 1931. New names for Australian fishes. The Australian Zoologist 6(4): 310-334 1 fig. pls 25-27  (as Longitrudis longispinis)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37296036

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:3-75 m

Habitat:Sandy, silty areas

Max Size:34 cm TL


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