Giant Boarfish, Paristiopterus labiosus (Günther 1872)

Other Names: Duckfish, Giant Penfish, Long-snouted Boarfish, Sowfish

A Giant Boarfish, Paristiopterus labiosus, in Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, New South Wales. Source: Dave Harasti / License: All rights reserved


A large greenish- to greyish-brown boarfish with three broad indistinct oblique stripes across the body. Adult males are sometimes peppered with yellow spots.

Giant Boarfish have a moderately deep, compressed body, exposed striated head bones, a low knob on the nape and a very long concave snout, that becomes longer and deeper with age. Anal fin with two spines.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Paristiopterus labiosus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jun 2024,

Giant Boarfish, Paristiopterus labiosus (Günther 1872)

More Info


Hervey Bay, Queensland, to Geographe Bay, Western Australia, and to southern Tasmania. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Zealand. Depth range 20–130 m.


Dorsal fin VII-VIII, 16-18; Anal fin II, 8-10; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 16-18; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line 85-96.

Body moderately deep, compressed, with exposed striated head bones, a low knob on the nape and a very long concave snout, becoming longer and deeper with age.

Dorsal fin spines long an dslender in juveniles, proportionally shorter and more stout in adults; soft fin rays only slightly taller anteriorly, not forming a pointed lobe. Anal fin with 2 spines, pectoral-fin base in front of pelvic-fin bas, tail slightly concave.


To a total length of 100 cm.


Greenish brown above, underside paler, with 3 broad indistinct oblique stripes across body. Adult males sometimes peppered with yellow spots.


Feeds mostly on benthic invertebrates and fishes.



Taken in commercial trawl fisheries and marketed fresh.


Similar Species


The specific name is from the Latin labiosus (= large lipped), in reference to the large thick lips of this species.

Species Citation

Histiopterus labiosus Günther 1872, Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1871(3): 658, pl. 59. Type locality: South Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Giant Boarfish, Paristiopterus labiosus (Günther 1872)


Allan, R. 2002. Australian Fish and How to Catch Them. Sydney : New Holland Publishers (Australia) 394 pp. 

Bleeker, P. 1876. Systema Percarum revisum Pars I et II. Archives Néerlandaises des Sciences Naturelles 11: 247-340

Castelnau, F.L. de 1872. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 1. The Melbourne fish market. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 1: 29-242 1 pl (described as Richardsonia insignis)

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Pentacerotidae (pp. 611–617). In Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. The Fishes of Australia’s Southern Coast. New Holland Publishers, Chatswood, Australia.

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.

Günther, A. 1872. Report on several collections of fishes recently obtained for the British Museum. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1871(3): 652-675 pls 53-70 See ref at BHL

Hardy, G.S. 1983. A revision of the fishes of the family Pentacerotidae (Perciformes). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 10: 177-220 figs 1-13

Hardy, G.S. 1994. Pentacerotidae. pp. 629-636, figs 553-559 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

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

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

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Kim, S-Y. 2012. Phylogenetic Systematics of the Family Pentacerotidae (Actinopterygii: Order Perciformes). Zootaxa 3366: 1–111.

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

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs

Paulin, C., Stewart, A., Roberts, C. & McMillan, P. 1989. New Zealand fish: a complete guide. National Museum of New Zealand Miscellaneous Series 19: 1-279

Russell, B.C. 1983. The food and feeding habits of rocky reef fish of north-eastern New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 17(2): 121-145.

Scott, T.D., Glover, C.J.M. & Southcott, R.V. 1974. The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of South Australia. Adelaide : Government Printer 392 pp. figs.

Trnski, T. 2015. 189 Family Pentacerotidae. pp. 1308-1313 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748.

Waite, E.R. 1898. Report upon Trawling Operations off the Coast of New South Wales between the Manning River and Jervis Bay, carried on by H.M.C.S. Thetis. Scientific report on the fishes. pp. 23–62 pls 1–12 (described as Histiopterus farnelli)

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37367002

Depth:20-130 m

Fishing:Commercial fish

Max Size:100 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map