Dusky Morwong, Dactylophora nigricans (Richardson 1850)

Other Names: Black Butterfish, Butter Perch, Butterfish, Nunckla, Nunda, Shitfish, Strongfish, Tillywurti

A Dusky Morwong, Dactylophora nigricans, at Rapid Bay Jetty, South Australia. Source: Dave Harasti / http://www.daveharasti.com/. License: All rights reserved

A large slender greyish to brownish morwong with a whitish belly. Immature individuals are silvery with rows of orange-brown spots along the sides and dark spots on the dorsal and caudal fins. Small juveniles have deeper silvery bodies with broad dark bands on the upper sides that extend onto the dorsal fin.
Video of a Dusky Morwong at Brighton, Port Phillip Bay, Victoria.
Video of Dusky Morwong

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Dactylophora nigricans in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Apr 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/431

Dusky Morwong, Dactylophora nigricans (Richardson 1850)

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Endemic to southern Australia, from the Clarence River, New South Wales, to the  Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia, including around Tasmania.

Species Citation

Cheilodactylus nigricans Richardson 1850, Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 18: 63. Type locality: King George Sound, WA.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Dusky Morwong, Dactylophora nigricans (Richardson 1850)


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

De Vis, C.W. 1883. Descriptions of new genera and species of Australian fishes. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 8(2): 283-289 (described as Dactylophora semimaculata)

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

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp.

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services.

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

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

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs.

Klunzinger, C.B. 1872. Zur Fische-fauna von Süd Australien. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 38(1): 17-47 pl. 2 (described as Chilodactylus nebulosus)

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

Kuiter, R.H. 1994. Family Cheilodactylidae. pp. 644-655, figs 566-574 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.

Kuiter, R. & Kuiter, S. 2018. Coastal sea-fishes of south-eastern Australia. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, 371 pp.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.

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.

Macleay, W.J. 1882. Description of two fishes lately taken in or near Port Jackson. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 7(3): 366-367 (described as Chilodactylus mulhallii)

Macleay, W.J. 1884. On a new genus of fishes from Port Jackson. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 8(4): 439-441 (described as Psilocranium coxii)

Pollard, J. (ed.) 1980. G.P. Whitley's Handbook of Australian Fishes. North Sydney : Jack Pollard Publishing Pty Ltd 629 pp.

Richardson, J. 1850. Notices of Australian fish. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 18: 58-77 figs 1-3 See ref at BHL

Roberts, C.D. & Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Cheilodactylidae and Latridae. pp. 624-632 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Scott, T.D., Glover, C.J.M. & Southcott, R.V. 1974. The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of South Australia. Adelaide : Government Printer 392 pp. figs. (as Psilocranium nigricans)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37377005

Depth:1-20 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:120 cm TL


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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map