Red Gurnard, Chelidonichthys kumu (Cuvier 1829)

Other Names: Bluefin Gurnard, Flying Fish, Flying Gurnard, Gurnard, Kumu Gurnard, Kumukumu (NZ), Latchet

A Red Gurnard, Chelidonichthys kumu, caught at Browns Mountain, off Sydney (New South Wales). Source: Brenden Kong. License: All rights reserved

A large reddish to reddish-brown gurnard becoming silvery-white below, with a mostly smooth snout and a row of prominent bony scales along the dorsal fin bases. The inner surface of the pectoral fin is olive-green to greyish or purplish with scattered blue spots, a blue margin, and a large black blotch sometimes with white to bluish speckles near the fin base. 
Video of a Red Gurnard at a baited underwater camera off New South Wales, depth 50 m.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Chelidonichthys kumu in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 May 2024,

Red Gurnard, Chelidonichthys kumu (Cuvier 1829)

More Info


Widespread in eastern and southern Australia from off Brisbane, Queensland, around southern Australia including Tasmania, to Shark Bay, Western Australia; also the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs off southern Africa, New Zealand, Hawaii and possibly Chile.
Adults prefer deeper offshore waters, while juveniles inhabit shallow bays, estuaries, and sandy coastal areas.


Dorsal fin VIII-IX + 15-16; Anal fin 14-15; Caudal fin 11; pectoral fin 11+3; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 62-65.
Skull without a groove behind eye; front margin of bony rostrum with a broad medial notch or indentation in front of eyes, rostrum mostly smooth without prominent spines.
Scales small, somewhat embedded, in 110-120 diagonal rows above lateral line; scales absent from chest and front part of belly; enlarged thorn-like bucklers present along the bases of both dorsal fins; lateral line splitting into two branches on caudal fin. 
Caudal-fin margin distinctly concave; Pectoral fins large, fin tip extending well beyond the anal-fin origin; lower pectoral-fin rays thickened and free from membrane. 


Often taken in bottom trawls, and also on hook and line. The firm slightly dry flesh is excellent eating.


The specific name is a Latinization of the vernacular name (koumou) for this species in New Zealand.

Species Citation

Trigla kumu Cuvier, 1829, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 4: 50. Type locality: New Zealand.


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Red Gurnard, Chelidonichthys kumu (Cuvier 1829)


Acero, A., Fricke, R. & Murdy, E. 2010. Chelidonichthys kumu. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154895A4661163. Downloaded on 05 September 2018.

Castelnau, F.L. de 1873. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 8. Fishes of Western Australia. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 2: 123-149 (described as Trigla amoena, type locality  Swan River [as Cygnes R], Fremantle, Western Australia)

Clearwater, S.J. & Pankhurst, N.W. 1994. Reproductive biology and endocrinology of female red gurnard, Chelidonichthys kumu (Lesson & Garnot) (Family Triglidae), from the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 45(2): 131-139.

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

Coleman, N. & Mobley, M. 1984. Diets of commercially exploited fish from Bass Strait and adjacent Victorian waters, southeastern Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 35(5): 549-560.

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

Elder, R.D. 1976. Studies on age and growth, reproduction and population dynamics of red gurnard (Chelidonichthys kumu, Lesson and Garnot) in the Hauraki Gulf. New Zealand Fisheries Research Bulletin 12: 1-77.

Francis, M. 2022. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk and Kermadec islands December 2022.

Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Triglidae. pp. 494-505 figs 442-450 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

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.

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

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

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

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986.Trawl fish from temperate waters of Australia. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, Tasmania, Australia.

Neira, F.J., Miskiewicz, A.G. & Trnski, T. 1998. Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: laboratory guide for larval fish identification. University of Western Australia Press.

Richards, W.J. 1999. Triglidae. Gurnards, sea robins, armored gurnards, and armored sea robins. In: K.E. Carpenter and 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), pp. 2359-2363. FAO, Rome, Italy.

Staples, D. 1972. Growth of the red gurnard (Teleostei, Triglidae) from Pegasus Bay, Canterbury, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 6(3): 365-374.

Struthers, C.D. & Gomon, M.F. 2015. 159 Family Triglidae. pp. 1107-1113 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.

Waite, E.R. 1904. A synopsis of the fishes of New South Wales. Memoirs of the New South Wales Naturalists' Club 2: 1-59 

Whitley, G.P. 1931. New names for Australian fishes. The Australian Zoologist 6(4): 310-334 1 fig. pls 25-27 (described as Currupiscis volucer, type locality La Perouse, Botany Bay, New South Wales, purchased) See ref at BHL

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

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37288001

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-200 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish

Habitat:Sandy, muddy areas

Max Size:60 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map