Crested Morwong, Goniistius vestitus (Castelnau 1879)

Other Names: Eastern Crested Morwong, Eastern Magpie Morwong, Eastern Morwong, Magpie Morwong

A Crested Morwong, Goniistius vestitus, in Camp Cove, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, September 2017. Source: Erik Schlogl / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Recognised by the broad dark stripe running from the anterior dorsal-fin spines to the lower lobe of the caudal fin, a dark band from just before the dorsal fin to the abdomen, a dark bar from the nape to the pectoral-fin base and dark bars from above the eyes to the gill cover. The species also has knob-like bony protrusions in front of the eyes and above the upper lip and tall anterior dorsal-fin spines.
This species was previously known as Cheilodactylus vestitus.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Goniistius vestitus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

Crested Morwong, Goniistius vestitus (Castelnau 1879)

More Info


Capricorn Group, southern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to Bermagui, New South Wales, also Middleton Reef and Elizabeth Reef, Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. The species also occurs in New Caledonia.
Inhabits coral and rocky reefs in depths to 55 m, mostly above 20 m.

Species Citation

Zeodrius vestitus Castelnau, 1879, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 1 3(4): 377. Type locality: Sydney Market.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Australian Faunal Directory

Crested Morwong, Goniistius vestitus (Castelnau 1879)


Allen, G.R. & Heemstra, P.C. 1976. Cheilodactylus rubrolabiatus, a new species of morwong (Pisces : Cheilodactylidae) from Western Australia, with a key to the cheilodactylid fishes of Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 4(4): 311-325 figs 1-2. (as Cheilodactylus gibbosus)

Burridge, C.P. & White R.W.G. 2000. Molecular phylogeny of the antitropical subgenus Goniistius (Perciformes: Cheilodactylidae: Cheilodactylus): evidence for multiple transequatoral divergences and non-monophyly. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society of London 70: 435-458.

Castelnau, F.L. de 1879. Essay on the ichthyology of Port Jackson. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 3(4): 347-402.

Choat, J.H., van Herwerden, L., Robbins, W.D., Hobbs, J.P. & Ayling, A.M. 2006. A report on the ecological surveys undertaken at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, February 2006. Report by James Cook University to the Department of the Environment and Heritage. 65 pp. (as Cheilodactylus vestitus)

Edgar, G.J. 2000. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 544 pp. (as Cheilodactylus vestitus)

Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2, 624 pp. (as Cheilodactylus vestitus)

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2. (as Cheilodactylus vestitus)

Francis, M.P. & J.E. Randall. 1993. Further additions to the fish faunas of Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 118-135. (as Cheilodactylus vestitus)

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp. (as Cheilodactylus vestitus)

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

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) (as Cheilodactylus vestitus)

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

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. (as Cheilodactylus vestitus)

Lowry, M. & Cappo, M. 1999. Morwongs. pp. 172-179 in Andrew, N. (ed.). Under Southern Seas — The ecology of Australia's rocky reefs. Sydney : University of New South Wales Press 238 pp. (as Cheilodactylus vestitus)

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 Cheilodactylus vestitus)

Randall, J.E. 1983. A review of the fishes of the subgenus Goniistius, genus Cheilodactylus, with description of a new species from Easter Island and Rapa. Occasional Papers of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum 25: 1-24. (as Cheilodactylus vestitus)

Randall, J.E. 2001. Cirrhitidae, Cheilodactylidae. pp. 3321-3330 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp. 
Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

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. (as Cheilodactylus vestitus)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37377008

Depth:2-55 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:35 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map