Bearded Rock Cod, Pseudophycis barbata Günther 1863

Other Names: Bearded Cod, Bearded Codfish, Bearded Rock-cod, Bearded Southern Rock Cod, Beardy, Common Rock Cod, Rock Cod, Slimy Cod, Southern Bastard Codling, Southern Bastard Rock Cod, Southern Cod, Southern Rock Cod, Southern Rock-Cod

Bearded Rock Cod, Pseudophycis barbata. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A reddish-brown to dark brown bearded cod with the lips, chin, pectoral and pelvic fins and upper jaw pinkish to slightly orange, a prominent dark line below the eye, a broad black margin on the dorsal, anal and caudal fins, and no black spot or blotch on the pectoral-fin base.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F. 2022, Pseudophycis barbata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jun 2024,

Bearded Rock Cod, Pseudophycis barbata Günther 1863

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Southern Australia from off Newcastle, New South Wales, to the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia; also in New Zealand. Inhabits rocky areas in depths to 275 m.


Dorsal fin 9–14, 40–50; Anal fin 39–52; Caudal fin 24; Pectoral fin 21–26; Pelvic fin 5–6; Vertebrae 43–46.

Body of moderate depth (21-24% SL) and length, rather thick; caudal peduncle very slender. Head moderately small (27-30% SL), nearly circular in cross section, slightly depressed anteriorly; eyes of moderate size (22-24% HL); interorbital of moderate breadth (25-30% HL); mouth moderately large (upper jaw length 49-56% HL), nearly horizontal, tip of maxilla reaching just past eye; snout protruding noticeably in advance of lower jaw; teeth uniformly small, pointed, band in each jaw; chin with prominent barbel, length approximately equal to eye diameter. 

Scales tiny, cycloid, covering body and head, extending well onto bases of unpaired fins, 132-137 oblique rows intersecting lateral line, 13-16 scales between dorsal-fin origin and lateral line; lateral line smoothly curved with flexure above pectoral fin, pores in naked strip not related to adjacent scales. Anus immediately before anal fin. 

Two separate dorsal fins, first with short base, second very elongate, of rather uniform height; anal fin similar to second dorsal; caudal fin rounded. Pelvic fins arising below point midway between eye and rear edge of preopercle, reaching about to anus.


Medium to dark reddish brown above, extending ventrally to level of ventral portion of pectoral fin base, white below in smaller individuals, large individuals becoming brown ventrally and often much darker; lateral line not distinctively coloured. Underside of head, jaws and barbel white, tinged with pink to orange, becoming more orange to brown in larger individuals; ventral margin of suborbital dusky to dark. Dorsal and caudal fins of similar colour to brown of sides, anal fin pink or orange in smaller individuals, becoming brown like other median fins in large individuals, dorsal, caudal and anal fins with distinct broad to narrow black margin distally, margin on caudal fin broadest. Pectoral fin orange to brown with faintly darker semi-circular brown blotch basally, covering dorsal 80% of edge of fin proximally. Pelvic fin rays white with pink to orange hue, becoming brownish in large individuals.


Feeds mostly on benthic crustaceans.


Although this species has a wide depth range, it is encountered much less frequently than the Red Cod (Pseudophycis palmatus), presumably due to its preference for rocky areas which are avoided by commercial trawlers.


The specific name is from the Latin barbatus (= bearded), presumably in reference to the prominent chin barbel.

Species Citation

Enchelyopus bachus Bloch & Schneider, 1801, Syst. Ichth.: 53. Type locality: New Zealand.


Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Bearded Rock Cod, Pseudophycis barbata Günther 1863


Cohen, D.M. 1990. Families Moridae, Muraenolepididae. pp. 346-384 in Cohen, D.M., Inada, T., Iwamoto, T. & Scialabba, N. FAO Species Catalogue. Gadiform fishes of the world (order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 10 442 pp.

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp. (as Physiculus barbatus)

Gomon, M.F. 1994. Families Moridae, Melanonidae, Euclichthyidae, Merlucciidae. pp. 324-340 figs 290-303 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. 

Gomon. M.F. 2008. Family Moridae. pp. 302-315 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Gomon, M.F., Struthers, C.D. & Kemp, J. 2021. A review of the Australasian genus Pseudophycis (Gadiformes: Moridae), redescribing its four species and resurrecting the name Physiculus palmatus Klunzinger, 1872, for the Australian red cod. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 80: 103-143.

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.

Günther, A. 1863. On new species of fishes from Victoria, South Australia. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 3 11(17): 114-117.

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

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

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. 

Paulin, C.D. 1983. A revision of the family Moridae (Pisces : Anacanthini) within the New Zealand region. Records of the National Museum of New Zealand 2(9): 81-126 figs 1-27 

Ramsay, E.P. 1881. Description of two new species of Australian fishes. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 5(4): 462-463. (as Lotella grandis)

Struthers, C.D., Gomon, M.F. & Last, P.R. 2015. 107 Family Moridae. pp. 839-866 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37224003

Depth:1-275 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:64 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map