Largenose Weedfish, Heteroclinus nasutus (Günther 1861)

Other Names: Large-nose Weedfish, Largenosed Weedfish

A Large-nose Weedfish, Heteroclinus nasutus, in Jervis Bay, New South Wales, April 2019. Source: dentrock / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial


As the common name suggests, this species has large multilobed nasal tentacles (usually with 7-8 lobes) arranged in a ring on the anterior nostril, and thin orbital tentacles usually with a short lobe on the inner side.

Largenose Weedfish vary greatly in colour. Males are yellow to brown with a narrow brown bar extending ventrally from below each eye, white tips on the dorsal fin, and a series of brown spots forming transverse bands on the pectoral and caudal fins. 

Females are greenish-brown with five vertical, narrow white bars on the body extending onto the dorsal and anal fins, often a dark stripe extending from the end of each eye towards the first dorsal fin and a narrow brown vertical bar extending ventrally from each eye. The pectoral and caudal fins are pale with brown spots forming series of transverse bands, and the first dorsal fin is dark.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Heteroclinus nasutus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Feb 2023,

Largenose Weedfish, Heteroclinus nasutus (Günther 1861)

More Info


Endemic to south-eastern Australia, from Point Cartwright, Queensland, to Port Phillip, Victoria. Also Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Usually inhabits shallow macroalgal covered reefs at depths to about 10 m.


Dorsal fin III-IV, XXVII-XXXI, 3-4; Anal fin II, 18-23; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 10-12; Pectoral fin 12-13; Pelvic fin I, 3; Lateral line scales 20-26 (arched portion) + 20-27 (straight portion); gill rakers 2-4 + 6-8 = 8-11.  
Body of moderate depth (depth at anal fin origin 17-25% SL), strongly compressed. Jaws reaching to a point below middle to posterior edge of eyes; 18-24 circumorbital head pores arranged uniserially (though frequently biserially above eyes); each orbital tentacle thin, elongate (4-7% SL) usually with short lobe on inner side; nasal tentacles large, multilobed (usually seven or eight lobes) in a ring on posterior flap of each anterior nostril; anterior nostrils located at tip of snout. 
Two dorsal fins, first dorsal not elevated above second dorsal (second spine 6-9% SL), originating anterior to posterior edge of preopercles; membrane from first dorsal fin connected to base or to basal half of first spine of second dorsal fin; flaps extending posteriorly from dorsal spines bound in membrane or with tips partly free; basal half of last anal fin ray connected to caudal peduncle by membrane. Pelvic fins rays stout, not reaching to anus, third ray about half length of second ray.


The specific name is from the Latin nasutus (= large nosed), either in reference to the subconical snout "somewhat longer than the eye", or the very long nasal tentacle, "long fringed tentacle at the nostril".

Species Citation

Cristiceps nasutus Günther 1861, Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum Vol. 3: 273. Type locality: New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Largenose Weedfish, Heteroclinus nasutus (Günther 1861)


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

Günther, A. 1861. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the acanthopterygian fishes in the collection of the British Museum. London : British Museum Vol. 3 586 pp. See ref at BHL

Hoese, D.F., Gomon, M.F. & Rennis, D.S. 2008. Family Clinidae. pp. 696-722 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

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

Kuiter, R. & Kuiter, S. 2018. Coastal sea-fishes of south-eastern Australia. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, 371 pp.

Milward, N.E. 1960. A new species of weed-fish of the genus Petraites from Western Australia. Western Australian Naturalist 7(5): 134-135 1 fig. (as Petraites nasutus)

Rennis, D., Hoese, D.F. & Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Clinidae. pp. 741-775, figs 650-684B 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. 

Thomson, J.M. 1978. A Field Guide to the Common Sea & Estuary Fishes of Non-tropical Australia. Sydney : Collins 144 pp.

Williams, J.T., Holleman, W. & Clements, K.D. 2014. Heteroclinus nasutus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T179007A1558629. Downloaded on 17 August 2016

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37416022

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-10 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:9 cm TL


Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map