Rainfordia, Rainfordia opercularis McCulloch 1923

Other Names: Australian Flathead Perch, Flathead Perch, Rainford's Perch

A Rainfordia, Rainfordia opercularis, in a cave, North West Cape, Western Australia, August 2018. Source: glen_whisson / iNaturalist.org. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

An orange basslet with dark-edged lilac stripes along the head and body, and a black, blue-edged ocellus on the caudalfin base. 
Video of a pair of Rainfordia in an aquarium.
Rainfordia in an aquarium.
Video of 31 day old larval Rainfordia opercularis being reared in an aquarium -
showing the extremely long filament on the dorsal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Rainfordia opercularis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 07 Mar 2021,

Rainfordia, Rainfordia opercularis McCulloch 1923

More Info


Kendrew Island to The Kimberley, Western Australia, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, and reefs in the Coral Sea, to at least Moreton Bay, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Raja Ampat islands, West Papua, Indonesia. 
This secretive species usually shelters in crevices and caves within the reef.


General colour dark orange with six lilac, black-edged stripes along each side; the ground colour is darkest on the middle of the sides, but is lighter yellow on the dorsal and ventral surfaces. Dorsal spines yellowish, the membrane transparent. Second dorsal dark basally, with a broad oblique yellow infra-marginal band from the first to the tip of the seventh ray, and a narrow whitish edge; succeeding rays reddish brown. Anal similar to the dorsal. Pectoral and pelvic fins pinkish yellow. A black, blue-edged ocellus at the base of the caudal. Caudal fin brown; its outer angles with white borders. 


Rainfordia has been successfully bred and reared in captivity.

Species Citation

Rainfordia opercularis McCulloch 1923, Rec. Aust. Mus. 14(2): 120, pl. 16(3). Type locality: Middle Island, Edgecumbe Bay, Whitsunday Passage, Queensland.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Australian Faunal Directory

Rainfordia, Rainfordia opercularis McCulloch 1923


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Baldwin, C.C. & Leis, J.M. 2006. Rainfordia opercularis, a liopropomin serranid (Teleostei: Serranidae: Epinephelinae): corroborative evidence from settlement-stage larvae. Ichthyological Research 54: 193-197.

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Biodiversity of shallow reef fish assemblages in Western Australia using a rapid censusing technique. Records of the Western Australian Museum 20: 247-270 

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

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. 2004. Basslets, Hamlets and their relatives. A comprehensive guide to selected Serranidae and Plesiopidae. Chorleywood, UK : TMC Publishing 1, 216 pp. 

McCulloch, A.R. 1923. Fishes from Australia and Lord Howe Island. No. 2. Records of the Australian Museum 14(2): 113-125 pls 14-16 DOI: 10.3853/j.0067-1975.14.1923.833 Open access

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. 

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2

Sadovy, Y.J. 2010. Rainfordia opercularis (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T155317A115299939. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T155317A4773649.en. Downloaded on 06 August 2019.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311163

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-40 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:15 cm SL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map