Zebrafish, Girella zebra (Richardson 1846)

Other Names: Stripey Bream, Zebra Fish

A Zebrafish, Girella zebra, at Kangaroo Island, South Australia, December 2013. Source: Erik Schlogl / iNaturalist.org. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale silvery-grey girellid with 9-10 broad dark wedge-shaped bars along the sides, and pale yellow fins. Juveniles are darker with indistinct bars and may be confused with Luderick, Girella tricuspidata.

Zebrafish in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria
Zebrafish at Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, in Port Phillip, Victoria

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Girella zebra in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Apr 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/470

Zebrafish, Girella zebra (Richardson 1846)

More Info


Endemic to the southern half of Australia, from Clarence River, New South Wales, to Port Denison, Western Australia, and north-eastern Tasmania.
Forms small schools in bays, estuaries and on coastal reefs.


Dorsal fin XIV, 13-15; Anal fin III, 11; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 17-19; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 72-80.
Body moderately short, deep (approx. 41-44% SL), compressed; dorsal and ventral profiles evenly arched; caudal peduncle moderately shallow. Head small, (approx. 27-29 SL), forehead strongly convex; eyes small (approx. 22-24% HL); mouth small, not reaching below eyes, maxillae concealed beneath respective preorbital bones; each jaw with single outer row of non overlapping, flattened, tricuspid teeth bordering broad band of minute teeth of similar shape.  
Scales small, ctenoid, covering body, most of cheeks, 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 approximately 1.3 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.


The species is rare in New South Wales, and hybridizes with Girella elevata in southern New South Wales and eastern Victoria.

Species Citation

Crenidens zebra Richardson 1846, Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror: 70. Type locality: no locality stated.


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Zebrafish, Girella zebra (Richardson 1846)


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

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6 

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. 

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. 

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

Richardson, J. 1846. Ichthyology. 53-74 pls 31-41, 43-44 & 53 (part) 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.

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37361008

Depth:0-20 m

Habitat:Bays, estuaries, coastal reefs

Max Size:54 cm


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CAAB distribution map