Coleman's Weedfish, Heteroclinus sp 4

Other Names: Colemans Weedfish

Coleman's Weedfish, Heteroclinus sp. 4. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A brown to reddish weedfish with dark brown spots on the body and tail, 6-7 darker saddles along the back extending onto the dorsal fin, a large white to silvery-white spot behind the pectoral fin, often followed by a series of smaller spots, and three brown and silvery-white bars radiating ventrally from the eyes.
Coleman's Weedfish has a tall first dorsal fin, and the second dorsal fin has 3 segmented rays (at the rear of the second dorsal fin), and the last two rays are widely separated from the first ray. The species has an elongated orbital tentacle with a rounded lobe, and a simple rounded nasal tentacle.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Heteroclinus sp 4 in Fishes of Australia, accessed 11 Dec 2023,

Coleman's Weedfish, Heteroclinus sp 4

More Info


Endemic to southeastern Australia and known from central to southern New South Wales, Kangaroo Island, South Australia, and Deal Island, Bass Strait, Tasmania.
Inhabits red macroalgae on exposed coastal reefs and offshore islands at depths to about 8 m.


Dorsal fin III + XXV,3; Anal fin II,18-19; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 10: Pectoral fin 13; Pelvic fin I,3; Lateral line scales (arched) 19-24 + (straight) 24-26; Gill rakers 3 + 7-8; Circumorbital head pores 13-16, uniserial.
Body strongly compressed, depth 27-33% SL; caudal peduncle very slender; mouth reaching to between anterior edge of pupil and middle of eye; upper jaw length 8-10% SL. Orbital tentacle elongated with a rounded lobe, length 2-4% SL in females, 4-6% SL in males; nasal tentacle simple, rounded, flap length about equal to tubular base length.
Two dorsal fins unconnnected by membrane, first elevated in both sexes, length of 2nd spine 11-16% SL, fin origin above preopercular margin; last two rays in both dorsal and anal fins widely separated from preceding ray; last anal-fin ray connected by membrane along half its length to caudal peduncle; pelvic-fin tip reaching anus, inner ray about half to slightly more than half length of 2nd ray.


Brown to reddish; dark brown spots on trunk and tail; 6-7 darker saddles on dorsolateral surface of trunk and tail, extending onto dorsal fin; large white to silver spot behindpectoral fin sometimes followed by series of smaller spots posteriorly and dorsally; 3 silver to white bars with brown margins radiating form eye, first across snout and middle of upper jaw, second extending ventrally to end of mouth; third extending posteriorly from centre of rear edge of eye; orbital tentacle bright red to brown; dorsal and anal fins red to brown, interrupted by 6 clear areas; pectoral, pelvic and caudal fins with red or brown spots in transverse bands.

Similar Species

Coleman's Weedfish is distinctive in its reddish coloration, small size and combination of dorsal spine, pectoral ray and gill raker counts, and body depth, orbital tentacle size and first dorsal fin height. This species has only been recorded from coastal and offshore islands.


Bray, D.J. 2021

Coleman's Weedfish, Heteroclinus sp 4


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. & Kuiter, S.L. 2018. Fish watchers guide to coastal sea-fishes of south-eastern Australia. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, 371 pp. (as Heteroclinus sp 1)

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37416028

Depth:to 8 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:10 cm TL


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