Darwin Sole, Leptachirus darwinensis Randall 2007

Other Names: Manyscale Sole, Tailed Sole

A small narrow mottled brown sole with a row of eye-sized dark brown blotches along the dorsal and anal fin bases, several larger blotches along the lateral line, dark brown blotches on the caudal-fin base, and small spots scattered on the caudal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2016, Leptachirus darwinensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Sep 2021, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4776

Darwin Sole, Leptachirus darwinensis Randall 2007

More Info


Known from the Adelaide River to the East Alligator River, Northern Territory - in freshwater and slightly brackish habitats.


Dorsal fin 70-77; Anal fin 54-58; Pelvic fin 4-5; Caudal fin 18 (14 branched, 11-12 of these double-branched); Lateral line scales 90-111; Vertebrae 40-42. 

Body extremely narrow, compressed; caudal peduncle absent; eyes small, close together, anterior margin of upper slightly in front of lower. Mouth inferior, jaws strongly curved; maxilla reaching a vertical through anterior margin of pupil of lower eye; jaws with a dense curved band of villiform teeth on blind.   

Origin of dorsal fin above or slightly in front of upper eye; origin of anal fin below hind margin of gill opening; anus before anal-fin origin. Pelvic fins short, reaching just beyond base of first anal-fin ray; pelvic fin on eyed-side not joined to genital papilla; eyes relatively large.  

Scales ctenoid on both sides, with 8-12 cteni not extending well beyond the edge of the scale. Lateral line running straight along middle of body on both sides, extending onto caudal fin; lateral line on ocular side of head divided to two branches, a ventral branch of 4-9 pores, and the horizontal portion with 5-7 pores.


To 7 cm SL


Eyed-side light brown with a mottled pattern of small darker blotches and 3 longitudinal rows of larger dark brown blotches; dorsal- and anal-fin rays with indistinct brown spots; tail pale yellowish with basal dark brown spots and rows of increasingly smaller and fainter spots on rest of fin.



Randall (2007) also described Leptachirus polylepis from the Northern Territory. Larson et al. (2013) regarded L. polylepis as a junior synonym of L. darwinensis.


Leptachirus is from the Greek leptos (thin), and Achirus (a genus of soles), in reference to the thin and slender body of members of this genus. The species is named darwinensis for the city of Darwin in the Northern Territory, which is near the three rivers to the east in which specimens have been collected.

Species Citation

Leptachirus darwinensis Randall 2007, Rec. W. A. Mus. 24(1): 90, Fig. 4. Type locality: East Alligator River, 3 km upstream from Cahills Crossing, 12°27'S, 132°58'E, Northern Territory, Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2016


Australian Faunal Directory

Darwin Sole, Leptachirus darwinensis Randall 2007


Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293.

Randall, J.E. 2007. Leptachirus, a new soleid fish genus from New Guinea and northern Australia, with descriptions of eight new species. Records of the Western Australian Museum 24(1): 81-108. PDF available - open access

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37462052

Depth:0-10 m

Habitat:Fresh, brackish water

Max Size:7 cm SL


Species Maps

CAAB distribution map