Silver Javelin, Pomadasys argenteus (Forsskål 1775)

Other Names: Grunter, Grunter Bream, Silver Grunt, Small-spotted Grunter-bream, Small-spotted Javelin Fish, Small-spotted Javelin-fish, Trumpeter, White-finned Javelin Fish, White-finned Javelin-fish

Silver Javelin, Pomadasys argenteus, in the Gold Coast Seaway, southern Queensland, January 2015. Source: Ian Banks / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A silvery-mauve to pale brown grunter becoming silvery-white below, sometimes with dark greyish spots scattered on the back and upper sides, a dark brown snout,  dark greyish to purplish on the upper part of the gill cover, yellow pelvic and anal fins, and rows of small spots along the dorsal fin. Juveniles have numerous spots forming narrow rows along the side.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Pomadasys argenteus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Jun 2024,

Silver Javelin, Pomadasys argenteus (Forsskål 1775)

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Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, around the tropical north to the Richmond River, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific: Red Sea to Gulf of Aden, India to the Philippines, north to southern Japan, and south to Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
Inhabits shallow  coastal reefs and estuaries, including mangroves and adjacent soft-sediment areas.


Dorsal fin XII, 13-14; Anal fin III, 7. 
Body ovate; head profile almost straight; mouth small, lips not thickened; underside of chin with two pores and a central groove. No antrorse spine before the dorsal fin origin; shallow notch present between the spinous and soft-rayed portion of the dorsal fin. 


Feeds on benthic invertebrates including crabs, shrimps, bivalve molluscs and polychaete worms.


A component of commercial and subsistence fisheries in most of its range.


In Australia, this species has also been referred to as Pomadasys hasta, a junior synonym of P. argenteus.


The specific name is from the Latin, argenteus (= silvery), presumably in reference to the silvery colour of this species.

Species Citation

Sciaena argentea Forsskål 1775, Descriptiones Animalium: 51. Type locality: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Silver Javelin, Pomadasys argenteus (Forsskål 1775)


Allan, R. 2002. Australian Fish and How to Catch Them. Sydney : New Holland Publishers (Australia) 394 pp. 

Blaber, S.J.M. 1980. Fish of the Trinity Inlet System of North Queensland with notes on the ecology of fish faunas of tropical Indo-Pacific estuaries. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 31: 137-146.

Blaber, S.J.M., Young, J.W. & Dunning, M.C. 1985. Community structure and zoogeographic affinities of the coastal fishes of the Dampier region of north-western Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 36: 247-266,

Bloch, M.E. 1790. Naturgeschichte der ausländischen Fische. Berlin : J. Morino Vol. 4 128 pp. pls 217-252. 

Dahanukar, N. 2012. Pomadasys argenteus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T172404A1341100. Downloaded on 27 September 2020.

Forsskål, P. 1775. Descriptiones Animalium Avium, Amphibiorum, Piscium, Insectorum, Vermium; quæ in Itinere Orientali observavit Petrus Forskål. Post Mortem Auctoris edidit Carsten Niebuhr. Adjuncta est Materia Medica Kakirina atque Tabula Maris Rubri Geographica. Hauniæ : Mölleri 1-19, i-xxxiv, 164 pp., 1 map. See ref at BHL

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. 

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

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) 

Kulbicki, M., Morize, E. & Wantiez, L. 2009. Synopsis of the biology and ecology of Pomadasys argenteus. (Haemulidae) in New Caledonia. Cybium 33(1): 45-59

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp. 

Ley J.A., Halliday I.A., Tobin A.J., Garrett R.N. & Gribble N.A. 2002. Ecosystem effects of fishing closures in mangrove estuaries of tropical Australia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 245: 223-238.

McKay, R.J. 2001. Haemulidae. pp. 2961-2989 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. 

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

Sheaves M. 1998.Spatial patterns in estuarine fish faunas in tropical Queensland: a reflection of interaction between longterm physical and biological processes. Marine and Freshwater Research 49: 31-40. 

Sheaves M. & Molony B. 2000. Short-circuit in the mangrove food chain. Marine Ecology Progress Series 199: 97-109.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37350009

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:15-115 m

Habitat:Estuaries, coastal waters

Max Size:70 cm TL

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