Peacock Sole, Pardachirus pavoninus (Lacépède 1802)

A Peacock Sole, Pardachirus pavoninus, at Anilao, Philippines, April 2019. Source: Scott Johnson / FishBase. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Reddish-brown to pale brown with a densely spotted head, spots of various shapes and sizes on the body and fins of the eyed-side, spots with a dark border and often a blackish central spot.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Pardachirus pavoninus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 11 Aug 2022,

Peacock Sole, Pardachirus pavoninus (Lacépède 1802)

More Info


Northern Australia, from North West Cape, Western Australia, to northeast of Caloundra, Queensland (records from New South Wales are of Pardachirus hedleyi). Elsewhere the species occurs in the Indo-West Pacific: Sri Lanka east to Tonga, north to southern Japan, south to New Caledonia.
Inhabits sandy and muddy areas in shallow coastal lagoons and adjacent reefs, often lying buried in sand.


Dorsal fin 62-73; Anal fin 48-55. Eyes on right side. Dorsal and anal fins separate from caudal fin; pectoral fins absent; pelvic fins unequal, the right one with an elongated base and attached posteriorly to genital papilla.


Feeds mostly on benthic invertebrates, including polychaete worms, small crustaceans and small molluscs.


Secretes a milky fluid from pores located along the bases of the dorsal and anal fins. This substance may be toxic to small fishes.

Similar Species

The species is named pavoninus (= peacock-like) in reference to the peacock-like ocelli or eyespots on eyed side of body

Species Citation

Achirus pavoninus Lacépède 1802, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons Vol. 4: 658, 660. No type locality given, probably Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Peacock Sole, Pardachirus pavoninus (Lacépède 1802)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Günther, A. 1862. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the Acanthopterygii Pharyngognathi and Anacanthini in the collection of the British Museum. London : British Museum Vol. 4 534 pp. See ref at BHL

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. 

Lacépède, B.G. 1802. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : chez Plassan Vol. 4 728 pp. 16 pls. 

Munroe, T.A. 2001. Soleidae, Cynoglossidae. pp. 3878-3901 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218. 

Munroe, T. 2016. Pardachirus pavoninus . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T69781742A69782122. Downloaded on 06 January 2020.

Norman, J.R. 1926. A report on the flatfishes (Heterosomata) collected by the F.I.S. Endeavour, with a synopsis of the flatfishes of Australia and a revision of the subfamily Rhombosoleinae. Biological Results of the Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavour 1909-1914 5(5): 219-308 figs 1-15 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E. & Johnson, J.W. 2007. Revision of the soleid fish genus Pardachirus. Indo-Pacific Fishes 39: 1-22 

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37462009

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-56 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy & muddy areas

Max Size:25 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map