Short-tassel Weedfish, Heteroclinus flavescens (Hutton 1872)

Other Names: Shorttassel Weedfish

A Short-tassel Weedfish, Heteroclinus flavescens. Source: Peter Last / Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: All rights resrved

A brown weedfish with 2–3 oblique, blackish bars from behind the eye to the preopercle, dark dorsal, anal, and caudal fins with white tips, and the basal quarter of the pectoral fin dark with spots in transverse bands on the rest of the fin. The orbital tentacle is extremely short to absent, and the anterior nostril is an elongate tube with a short rounded flap.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Heteroclinus flavescens in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Apr 2024,

Short-tassel Weedfish, Heteroclinus flavescens (Hutton 1872)

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Port Phillip, Victoria to Port Adelaide, South Australia, and northern Tasmania. Elsewhere, the species occurs in New Zealand. Inhabits shallow seagrass beds and dense macroalgal reefs.


Dorsal fin XXXVI–XXXIX, 6–8; Anal fin II, 27–29; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 12; Pectoral fin 12–14; Pelvic fin I, 3; Lateral line 14–22 (arched) + 0–6 (straight); Gill rakers 2–3 + 5–8 = 7–10.
Body depth at anal-fin origin 15–20% SL, compressed; mouth to anterior edge of pupil; 12–14 uniserial circumorbital head pores; 1–2 supratemporal pores, excluding median pore; orbital tentacle extremely short to absent, entire, length 0.1–1% SL; anterior nostril an elongate tube with short rounded flap; gill rakers on outer face of 1st gill arch short to rudimentary; lateral-line scales to just before tip of pectoral fin, rarely as far as middle of dorsal fin. 
Single dorsal fin, origin behind preopercular margin, anterior spines not elevated, length of 2nd spine 4–6% SL, flaps posteriorly from spines bound in membrane, or with very short, free tip posteriorly; anal fin membrane weakly incised, basal half of last fin ray connected by membrane to caudal peduncle; pelvic fin short, tip not to anus, inner ray ¼ – ½ length of 2nd ray.


Live bearers.


The specific name is from the Latin flavescens (= yellowish), , referring to pale yellow coloration                    

Species Citation

Sticharium flavescens Hutton 1872, in Hutton & Hector (eds). Fishes of New Zealand: 33. Type locality: Cooks Straits, New Zealand.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Short-tassel Weedfish, Heteroclinus flavescens (Hutton 1872)


Clements, K.D., Holleman, W. & Williams, J.T. 2014. Cologrammus flavescens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T179063A1565338. Accessed on 17 March 2022.

Gill, T.N. 1893. A comparison of antipodal faunas. Memoirs of the National Academy of Science Washington 6(5): 91-124 (as Cologrammus flavescens)

Hoese, D.F., Gomon, M.F. & Rennis, D.S. 2008. Family Clinidae. pp. 696-722 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Hutton, F.W. 1872. Catalogue with diagnoses of the species. 1-88 pls 1-12 in Hutton, F.W. & Hector, J. (eds). Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Colonial Museum and Geological Survey Department. See ref at BHL

Klunzinger, C.B. 1872. Zur Fische-fauna von Süd Australien. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 38(1): 17-47 pl. 2 (described as Clinus marmoratus, type locality Port Phillip, Victoria)

Rennis, D., Hoese, D.F. & Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Clinidae. pp. 741-775, figs 650-684B 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. (as Heteroclinus marmoratus)

Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. 2015. 216 Family Clinidae. pp. 1524-1527 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748. (as Cologrammus flavescens)

Whitley, G.P. 1941. Ichthyological notes and illustrations. The Australian Zoologist 10(1): 1-50 figs 1-32 pls 1-2

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37416021

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-18 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:14 cm

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