Pikey Bream, Acanthopagrus pacificus Iwatsuki, Kume & Yoshino 2010

Other Names: Black Bream, Goldsilk seabream, Pacific Seabream, Picnic Seabream, Pikey Black Bream

A Pikey Bream, Acanthopagrus pacificus, from Mackay, Queensland, August 2015. Source: Bob Joynes / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A silvery-grey seabream, paler below, with dusky dorsal, caudal, anal, and pelvic fins, and very long pectoral fins. This popular angling species is one of the most abundant larger fishes in some northern Australian estuaries.

This species was previously mididentified in Australia as Acanthopagrus berda which occurs throughout most of the Indian Ocean (excluding Australia). 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Acanthopagrus pacificus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/673

Pikey Bream, Acanthopagrus pacificus Iwatsuki, Kume & Yoshino 2010

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Darwin, Northern Territory, to Port Clinton, Queensland. Elsewhere the spcies occurs in the Western Pacific, from southern Japan, southern China, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and northern Australia.

Mostly inhabits brackish waters in estuaries, inlets, coastal rivers and tidal creeks, occasionally entering the lower parts of freshwater streams. Juveniles inhabit protected bays and estuaries.


Dorsal fin XI, 11; Anal fin III, 8-9; Gill rakers 15-19. 

Distinguished from congeners by having: 3.5 scale rows between fifth dorsal-fin spine base and lateral line; ventral edge of first two infraorbitals above rear end of maxilla straight in fish less than ca 30 cm SL, but a moderate concavity of the ventral edge of the first two infraorbitals above the posterior part of upper jaw obvious in specimens about 35 cm SL; front edge of dorsal scaly area on head slightly curved (convex) without small scales; ; deeper body, 45-48% SL (mean 47% SL); smaller orbit diameter, 2.9-4.9 (mean 3.7) in head length/orbit diameter; second anal-fin spine  clearly longer than third anal-fin spine; scales on preopercle flange absent; pelvic and anal fins uniformly dark black. (Iwatsuki et al. 2010).


Head and body silvery-grey, ventral portion of head and abdomen somewhat whitish; dorsal, caudal, anal, and pelvic fins dusky, especially membranes; pectoral fin hyaline or somewhat dusky dorsally.


Most likely a protandrous hermaphrodite, changing sex from male to female during the life cycle. Migrates to the lower reaches of estuaries from May to September to spawn, with peak spawning during July and August.


A popular angling species, often taken on hook and line.


The species is named pacificus in reference to its distribution in the western Pacific.

Species Citation

Acanthopagrus pacificus Iwatsuki,  Kume & Yoshino 2010, Bull. Natl Mus Nature Sci Series A 36(4): 116, figs. 1, 2A, 3A-D, 4A, 5A-B, 6. Type locality: Iriomote Island, Japan [24°21’32.4”N, 123°44’52.4”E]. 


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Pikey Bream, Acanthopagrus pacificus Iwatsuki, Kume & Yoshino 2010


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

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp. (as Acanthopagrus berda)

Allsop, D.J. & West, S.A. 2003. Constant relative age and size at sex change for sequentially hermaphroditic fish. J. Evol. Biol. 16(2003): 921-929. (as Acanthopagrus berda)

Beumer, J.P. 1978. Feeding ecology of four fishes from a mangrove creek in north Queensland, Australia. Journal of Fish Biology 12: 475-490. (as Acanthopagrus berda)

Blaber, S.J.M. 1980. Fish of the Trinity Inlet System of North Queensland with notes on the ecology of fish faunas of tropical Indo-Pacific estuaries. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 31: 37-46. (as Acanthopagrus berda)

Carpenter, K.E. 2001. Sparidae, Lethrinidae. pp. 2990-3050 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. ((as Acanthopagrus berda in part)

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

Hsu, T.-H., Guillén Madrid, A.G., Burridge, C.P., Cheng, H.-Y. & Gwo, J.-C. 2011. Resolution of the Acanthopagrus black seabream complex based on mitochondrial and amplified fragment-length polymorphism analyses. Journal of Fish Biology 79: 1182–1192. (as Acanthopagrus berda)

Iwatsuki, Y. 2013. Review of the Acanthopagrus latus complex (Perciformes: Sparidae) with descriptions of three new species from the Indo-West Pacific Ocean. Journal of Fish Biology 83: 64-95.

Iwatsuki, Y, Kume, M. & Yoshino, T. 2010. A new species, Acanthopagrus pacificus from the Western Pacific (Pisces, Sparidae). Bulletin of the National Museum of Nature and Science Series A 36(4): 115–130.

Iwatsuki, Y., Pollard, D. & Russell, B. 2014. Acanthopagrus pacificus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. . Downloaded on 16 November 2014.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. (as Acanthopagrus berda)

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

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp. (as Acanthopagrus berda)

Macleay, W.J. 1878. The fishes of Port Darwin. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 2(4): 344-367 pls 7-10 (as Chrysophrys hasta)

Munro, I.S.R. 1949. Revision of Australian silver breams, Mylio and Rhabdosargus. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 12(4): 182-223 figs 1-5 pls 16-23 (as Mylio berda)

Paradice, W.E. & Whitley, G.P. 1927. Northern Territory fishes. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 9(1): 76-106 figs 1-3 pls 11-15 (as Sparus berda)

Robertson, A.I.& Duke, N.C. 1990. Mangrove fish-communities in tropical Queensland, Australia: spatial and temporal patterns in densities, biomass and community structure. Marine Biology 104: 369-379. (as Acanthopagrus berda)

Roughley, T.C. 1957. Fish and Fisheries of Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 341 pp. (as Mylio berda)

Sheaves, M.J. 1993. Patterns of movement of some fishes within an estuary in tropical Australia. Australian Journal of Marine Science 44: 867-880. (as Acanthopagrus berda)

Sheaves, M.J. & Moloney, B. 2013. Reproductive periodicity of the sparid, Acanthopagrus berda, on a hierarchy of temporal scales. Journal of Fish Biology 82: 538-554. (as Acanthopagrus berda)

Sheaves, M.J. Moloney, B.W & Tobin, A.J. 1999. Spawning migrations and local movements of a tropical sparid fish. Marine Biology 133: 123-128. (as Acanthopagrus berda)

Taylor, W.R. 1964. Fishes of Arnhem Land. Records of the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land 4: 44-307 figs 1-68 (as Caeso berda)

Tobin, A.J., M.J. Sheaves & B.W. Moloney. 1997. Evidence of protandrous hermaphroditism in the tropical sparid Acanthopagrus berda. J. Fish Biol. 50(1): 22-33. (as A. berda)

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

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37353011


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-50 m

Fishing:Recreational fish


Max Size:35 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map