Whitefin Flathead, Kumococius rodericensis (Cuvier 1829)

Other Names: Bengal Flathead, Spiny Flathead, White-finned Flathead

Whitefin Flathead, Kumococius rodericensis. Source: CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research. License: All rights reserved

A relatively small sandy or brownish flathead, peppered with tiny black spots,about 5 indistinct broad dark bands across the back, usually a black spot on the spinous dorsal fin, dark brown pectoral fins with a pale centre, dark pelvic fins with a pale edge, and a dusky caudal fin with a pale blotch near the base.

Cite this page as:
CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research, Kumococius rodericensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3889

Whitefin Flathead, Kumococius rodericensis (Cuvier 1829)

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Off Barrow Island, Western Australia, to off Bowen, Queensland. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west Pacific from the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, the western Mascarenes, east to the Philippines, north to southern Japan, and south to northern Australia. 

Inhabits sandy or muddy bottoms in estuaries and coastal waters.


Dorsal fin XI or I,VIII, 11-12 (usually 11); Anal fin 11-13 (usually 12); Pectoral fin 19-22 (usually 19 or 20); Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 50-54 (usually 52 or 53).

Body elongate, moderately depressed. Head large (length ~33% SL), depressed, with several low, mostly spiny ridges; ocular flap absent; teeth in jaws villiform, in two patches on the vomer and in narrow bands on the pallatines; 3 spines at angle of preopercle, upper much longer, reaching nearly to, or just past, opercular margin, accessory spine present; a well developed interopercular flap present; gill rakers on first gill arch 8-12 (usually 10 or 11). Scales on upper body ctenoid, cycloid below, covering body and opercle and preopercle, remainder of head without scales; oblique scale rows slanting backward above lateral line closely approximate number of lateral-line scales, lateral-line scales 50-54 (usually 52 or 53), anterior 2-22 scales (usually about 11) bearing small spines. Scale pores of lateral line with a single opening to the exterior. First dorsal fin spinous, base nearly equal to second dorsal fin base, first spine very short, connected by a low membrane to the second, following spines much longer. Second dorsal fin with moderately long base, 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 truncate dorsally, rounded ventrally. Pectoral fin with falcate posterior margin.


Maximum total length about 25 cm, commonly to 20 cm TL.


Head and body fawn to brown above, white below with scattered minute black spots, sometimes with about 5 indistinct broad dark bands crossing back; spinous dorsal fin dusky with a black blotch frequently present distally between second and third spines, and a second blotch at edge above middle of fin; anal fin whitish with a dusky margin; pectoral fins dark brown, with a clear whitish or blond central area; pelvic fins dark brown with a light edge; caudal fin dusky with a whitish or blond patch anteriorly.


A protandrous hermaphrodite, and a broadcast spawner, with females releasing pelagic eggs embedded in a large, pelagic, gelatinous matrix.


Usually taken in trawls over soft bottoms.

Species Citation

Platycephalus rodericensis Cuvier 1829, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 4: Lectotype locality: RĂ©union I. Lectotype established by Sauvage 1873 and locality probably in error (see Knapp 1992).


CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research


Australian Faunal Directory

Whitefin Flathead, Kumococius rodericensis (Cuvier 1829)


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

Cole, K. 2010. Reproduction and Sexuality in Marine Fishes. University of Cal. Press, London.

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.

Motomura, H. & Matsuura, K. 2016. Kumococius rodericensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T46097614A46665129. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T46097614A46665129.en. Downloaded on 06 December 2018.

Puckridge, M., Andreakis, N., Appleyard, S. & Ward, R. 2013. Cryptic diversity in flathead fishes (Scorpaeniformes: Platycephalidae) across the Indo-West Pacific uncovered by DNA barcoding. Molecular Ecology Resources 13: 32-42.

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37296019

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:6-130 m


Habitat:Sandy, muddy bottoms

Max Size:25 cm

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