Luderick, Girella tricuspidata (Quoy & Gaimard 1824)

Other Names: Black Bream, Blackbream, Blackfish, Darkie, Mangrove Fish, Nigger, Nigger Fish, Pacific Bream, Parore, Rockperch

A Luderick, Girella tricuspidata, at Shelly Beach, New South Wales, October 2015. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Luderick are have 11-12 fine dark tapering bars on a bluish-grey to greyish-brown body that fades to silvery-white below. They also have a small mouth, a small eye, a large tail, and evenly arched dorsal and ventral profiles.
Great video by Ian Banks of Luderick gathering to spawn on the Gold Coast Seaway.  The males are pale with a dark head.
Video of Luderick at Shelly Beach, Manly, New South Wales.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Girella tricuspidata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2020,

Luderick, Girella tricuspidata (Quoy & Gaimard 1824)

More Info


South of Mackay, Queensland, to Fiddlers Bay, South Australia, north-eastern Tasmania. Elsewhere, the species occurs in New Zealand.
Luderick inhabit shallow coastal and estuarine waters, and often form large schools around rocky outcrops and jetties. Small juveniles usually shelter in seagrass beds.


Dorsal fin XIV-XVI (usually XV), 11-12; Anal fin III, 11-12; Caudal fin 17: Pectoral fin 16; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral-line scales 48-51.  
Body moderately deep (38-44% SL), compressed, dorsal and ventral profiles evenly arched; caudal peduncle moderately shallow. Head small, (27-34% SL), forehead slightly convex; eyes small (20-29% HL); mouth small, not reaching below eyes, maxillae concealed beneath respective preorbital bones; each jaw with outer row of overlapping, flattened, tricuspid teeth bordering broad band of minute teeth of similar shape.
Scales moderately small, ctenoid, covering body, most of cheeks, upper half of opercles and bases of dorsal and anal fins; lateral line continuous, parallel with upper profile of body.  
Dorsal fin continuous with little demarcation between spinous and soft portions, base of spinous portion 1.6-1.9 times as long as that of soft part, middle spines longest, only slightly shorter than longest soft rays, soft rays decreasing in length only slightly posteriorly; anal fin similar to and opposite soft part of dorsal fin; caudal fin very large, broadly forked. Pectoral fins small, upper rays longest. Pelvic fins small, inserted behind vertical through origin of pectoral fin bases by distance greater than snout length.


Dark greenish-grey above, silvery grey on sides and belly, with about 11 narrow dark vertical bars below the dorsal fin, fading on the lower part of the body; head and pectoral fins occasionally yellowish; fins otherwise pigmented as adjacent portions of body.
Luderick found in estuaries are usually dark greyish to brown, whereas those in coastal waters are usually bluish-grey.


Omnivore - feeds mostly on seagrass and green algae, and may also consume molluscs, prawns and polychaete worms.


Breeding occurs offshore, and juveniles usually settle out amongst seagrass in estuaries. With growth, Luderick move to the deeper parts of estuaries and coastal reefs.


A very popular angling species, especially in Queensland and New South Wales. Luderick are commonly taken by anglers using long, flexible rods, very small hooks and pencil floats with green filamentous weed as bait. Minimum legal size and bag/possession limits are enforced by State fisheries departments in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The species is fished commercially in New South Wales.

Species Citation

Boops tricuspidata Quoy & Gaimard 1824, Voyage autour du monde: 296. Type locality uncertain.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Luderick, Girella tricuspidata (Quoy & Gaimard 1824)


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

Butcher, P.A., Broadhurst, M.K., Hall, K.C., & Cooke, S.J. 2010. Post-release survival and physiology of angled luderick (Girella tricuspidata) after confinement in keeper nets in an Australian estuary. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsq180. PDF Open access

Carpenter, K.E. 2001. Girellidae, Scorpididae, Microcanthidae. pp. 3297-3303 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. 

Castelnau, F.L. de 1873. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 3. Supplement to the fishes of Victoria. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 2: 37-58. (as Melanichthys blackii)

Clements KD, Choat JH (1997) Comparison of herbivory in the closely-related marine fish genera Girella and Kyphosus. Marine Biology 127: 579–586. Abstract

Curley, B.G., A.R. Jordan, W.F. Figueira & V.C. Valenzuela. 2013. A review of the biology and ecology of key fishes targeted by coastal fisheries in south-east Australia: identifying critical knowledge gaps required to improve spatial management. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 23(4): 435. Abstract

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. (p. 283 as Girella carbonaria; p. 284 as Girella mentalis)

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

Ferguson AM, Harvey ES, Knott NA. 2016. Herbivore abundance, site fidelity and grazing rates on temperate reefs inside and outside marine reserves. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 478: 96–105.

Ferguson AM, Harvey ES, Taylor MD, Knott NA (2013) A herbivore knows its patch: Luderick, Girella tricuspidata, exhibit strong site fidelity on shallow subtidal reefs in a temperate marine park. PLoS ONE 8(5): e65838. Open access doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065838

Francis, M. 2001. Coastal Fishes of New Zealand. Auckland : Reed Publishing (NZ) 3rd ed, 103 pp. 

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Monodactylidae, Arripidae, Kyphosidae, Girellidae, Microcanthidae, Scorpididae. pp. 596-607 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp.

Gray, C.A., J.A. Haddy, J. Fearman, L.M. Barnes, W.G. Macbeth & B.W. Kendall. 2012. Reproduction, growth and connectivity among populations of Girella tricuspidata (Pisces: Girellidae). Aquatic Biology 16: 53-68. PDF Open access

Gray CA, Ives MC, Macbeth WG, Kendall BW (2010) Variation in growth, mortality, length and age compositions of harvested populations of the herbivorous fish Girella tricuspidata. Journal of Fish Biology 76: 880–899. Abstract

Henry G.W. & Lyle J.M. 2003. The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey. Cronulla: NSW Fisheries. 188 pp.Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 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) 

Kailola, P.J., Williams, M.J., Stewart, P.C., Reichelt, R.E., McNee, A. & Grieve, C. 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Canberra : Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 422 pp. 

Kingsford MJ (2002) The distribution patterns of exploited girellid, kyphosid and sparid fishes on temperate rocky reefs in New South Wales, Australia. Fisheries Science 68 (Supplement 1)131–134.

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

Kuiter, R.H. 1994. Family Girellidae. pp. 613-617, figs 540-543 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.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to sea fishes of Australia. New Holland. 433 pp.

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

Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 1. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 5(3): 302-444. (as Girella ramsayi)

Quoy, J.R.C. & Gaimard, J.P. 1824. Chapter 8. Poissons. 183-328 pls 43-65 in Freycinet, L.C.D. de (ed.) Voyage autour du Monde, entrepris par ordre du Roi, exécuté sur les corvettes de S.M. Uranie et la Physicienne, pendant les années 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820. Paris : Pillet Aîné Vol. 1 712 pp. 96 pls.

Raubenheimer D, Zemke-White WL, Phillips RJ, Clements KD (2005) Algal macronutrients and food selection by the omnivorous marine fish Girella tricuspidata. Ecology 86: 2601–2610. Abstract 

Richardson, J. 1845. Ichthyology. 17-52 pls 7-8 (parts), 11-30 in Richardson, J. & Gray, J.E. (eds). The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror under the Command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, R.N., F.R.S., during the years 1839–43. London : E.W. Janson Vol. 2 139 pp. pls 1-60. (as Crenidens triglyphus)

Richardson, J. 1848. Ichthyology. 75-139 pls 42-43 & 44 (parts), 45-52, 53 in Richardson, J. & Gray, J.E. (eds). The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror under the Command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, R.N., F.R.S., during the years 1839–43. London : Smith, Elder & Co. Vol. 2 139 pp. (as Crenidens simplex)

Roughley, T.C. 1957. Fish and Fisheries of Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 341 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.

Thominot, A. 1881. Sur deux genres nouveaux de poissons faisant partie de la famille des Squammipennes et rapportés d'Australie par J. Verreaux. Bulletin des Sciences, par la Société Philomathique de Paris 7 8: 140-142. (as Doydixodon australis)

Thominot, A. 1883. Note sur le genre Aplodon, poisson de la famille des Sparidae voisin des girelles. Bulletin des Sciences, par la Société Philomathique de Paris 7 7: 141-144. (as Aplodon castelnaui)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37361007

Depth:0-20 m

Fishing:Recreational & commercial fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:70 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map