Black Sole, Brachirus niger (Macleay 1880)

A Black Sole, Brachirus niger, in Minnamurra Estuary, Wollongong, New South Wales, November 2010. Source: Sascha Schultz / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A uniformly blackish or pale brownish sole with large patches of dark brown cirri, small blackish pectoral fins, and a narrow pale margin on the dorsal, anal and caudal fins. The blind side is cream to whitish, with dark pigment on the dorsal, caudal and anal fins, and whitish pectoral fins sometimes with a dark basal part in large fish.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Brachirus niger in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Jun 2024,

Black Sole, Brachirus niger (Macleay 1880)

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Endemic to eastern Australia, from Townsville, Queensland, to Corner Inlet, Victoria. Inhabits muddy, sandy and shelly areas in rivers, estuaries and coastal waters.


Dorsal fin 56-62; Anal fin 44-2. 
Caudal fin rounded; pectoral fins small. 


Taken as bycatch in the ocean trawl fishery and in the estuary prawn trawl fishery in New South Wales. Considered to be an excellent eating fish.


This species has frequently been referred to as Brachirus nigra.


The specific name is from the Latin niger (= black) in reference to the dark colour of the upper side.

Species Citation

Synaptura nigra Macleay 1880, Proc. Linn. Soc. N. S. W. 1 5(1): 49. Type locality: Sydney Market (Port Jackson and mouth of Cooks River, Botany Bay), New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Black Sole, Brachirus niger (Macleay 1880)


Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Soleidae. pp. 860-865, figs 761-763 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. (as Synaptura nigra)

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Soleidae. pp. 817-821 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762. (as Synaptura nigra)

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

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. (as Synaptura nigra)

Macleay, W.J. 1880. On two hitherto undescribed fishes well-known in the Sydney market. (Otolithus teraglin, Synaptura nigra). Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 5(1): 48-49. See ref at BHL

Munroe, T.A. 2021. Brachirus niger. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T158878443A158881494. Accessed on 08 July 2022.

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 (in part, considered Brachirus niger as a junior synonym of Brachirus orientalis)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37462017

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-200 m

Habitat:Sandy, shelly, silty bottoms

Max Size:35 cm TL


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