River Jewfish, Johnius borneensis (Bleeker 1851)

Other Names: Croaker, Drum, Jewfish, Little Jewfish, River Jew, River Perch, Sharpnose Hammer Croaker, Sharptooth Hammer Croaker, Sharp-toothed Hammer Croaker, Silver Teraglin

River Jewfish, Johnius borneensis. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Johnius borneensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/664

River Jewfish, Johnius borneensis (Bleeker 1851)

More Info


Broome, (and possibly south to Exmouth Gulf) Western Australia, around the tropical north to the Hawkesbury River, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific: Persian Gulf east to southern China, Taiwan, New Guinea and Australia.
Inhabits shallow coastal waters, estuaries, rivers and shallow coastal waters. The River Jewfish can tolerate turbid waters.


Dorsal fin X-XII, 27-32; Anal fin II, 7-8; Gill rakers (lower limb 9-15). 
Snout rounded but not swollen or projecting; mouth large, oblique; upper jaw extending backward below posterior half of eye; no barbel on chin; teeth in narrow bands, well differentiated into large and small in both jaws, but none canine-like; gill rakers slender, about half length of gill filaments at angle of arch. Second anal-fin spine moderately long, 24-42 % of head length. 
Scales on head cycloid (smooth). 
Swim bladder hammer-shaped, the first pair of arborescent appendages entering head beyond transverse septum and sending a palmate branch to the front of pectoral arch. 
Sagittal otolith (large earstone) with a tadpole-shaped impression, the head of which has its long axis lying obliquely to that of sagitta and the tail expanded and deepened as a hallow cone connected with the head by narrow groove.


Juveniles feed mostly on crustaceans, and feed on fishes as they grow.

Similar Species

Often misidentified as Johnius australis.

Species Citation

Otolithus borneensis Bleeker 1851,  Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 1: 268. Type locality: Bandjarmasin, Borneo.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

River Jewfish, Johnius borneensis (Bleeker 1851)


Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Blaber, S.J.M., Brewer, D.T. & Harris, A.N. 1994. Distribution, biomass and community structure of demersal fishes of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 45(3): 375-396. (as Johnius vogleri)

Bleeker, P. 1851. Nieuwe bijdrage tot de kennis der icthyolgishce fauna van Borneo met beschrijving van eenige nieuwe soorten van zoetwatervisschen. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 1: 259-275 

Bleeker, P. 1853. Diagnostische beschrijvingen van nieuwe of weinig bekende vischsoorten van Sumatra. Tiental V–X. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 4: 243-302 (as Otolithus vogleri)

De Vis, C.W. 1884. New fishes in the Queensland Museum. No. 3. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 9(3): 537-547 (as Corvina canina)

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. (as Johnius vogleri)

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp. (as Johnius vogleri)

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp. (as Johniops vogleri)

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) 

Ramm, D.C., Pender, P.J., Willing, R.S. & Buckworth, R.C. 1990. Large-scale spatial patterns of abundance within the assemblage of fish caught by prawn trawlers in Northern Australian waters. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 41(1): 79-95.

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. (as Johnius vogleri)

Sasaki, K. 1996. Sciaenid fishes of the Indian Ocean (Teleostei, Perciformes). Memoirs of the Faculty of Science. Kôchi University D Biol. 16/17: 83-95 

Sasaki, K. 1999. Johnius (Johnieops) philippinus, a new sciaenid from the Philippines, with a synopsis of species included in the subgenus Johnieops. Ichthyological Research 46(3): 271-279.

Sasaki, K. 2001. Sciaenidae. pp. 3117-3174 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp. 

Sasaki, K. & Amaoka, K. 1989. Records of Johnius vogleri (Perciformes, Sciaenidae) from Chinese waters and notes on its synonymy. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 36(1): 126-128 (as Johnius vogleri)

Sumpton, W. & Greenwood, J. 1990. Pre- and post-flood feeding ecology of four species of juvenile fish from the Logan-Albert estuarine system, Moreton Bay, Queensland. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 41(6): 795-806.

Trewavas, E. 1977. The sciaenid fishes (croakers or drums) of the Indo-west Pacific. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London 33: 253-541. (as Johnius vogleri)

Willing, R.S. & Pender, P.J. 1989. Length-weight relationships for 45 species of fish and three invertebrates from Australia's northern prawn fishery. Northern Territory, Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, Australia. Technical Bulletin No. 142, 57 pp. (as Johnius vogleri)

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

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37354007

Depth:0-132 m

Habitat:Estuaries, rivers, coastal waters

Max Size:35 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map