Yellowtail Grunter, Amniataba caudavittata (Richardson 1845)

Other Names: English Wyandotte, Yellow-tail Grunter, Yellowtail Trumpeter, Yellowtailed Perch

Yellowtail Grunter, Amniataba caudavittata. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


A silvery-grey grunter, becoming paler below, and covered in golden-brown spots, with a prominent black blotch on each caudal-fin lobe, and irregular spots and bands on the dorsal and anal fins. Some individuals have 5 or 6 incomplete vertical bars along the upper sides.

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Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2021, Amniataba caudavittata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jul 2024,

Yellowtail Grunter, Amniataba caudavittata (Richardson 1845)

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Widespread in the northern half of Australia, from Dunsborough, Western Australia, around the tropical north to at least Shoalwater Bay, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Guinea.

Mostly inhabits coastal marine  environments. Also found in brackish estuaries, the lower freshwater parts of rivers, and hypersaline waters, particularly in the more southern parts of its range. Occurs over a range of substrates and amongst many different aquatic vegetation types, including mangrove areas and seagrass beds.


Dorsal fin XII-XIII, 8-10; Anal fin  III, 8-9; Pectoral fin 12-15; Pelvic fin I, 5; Gill rakers 6-8 + 1 + 12-13; Lateral line 46-54; Vertebrae 10-15.

Body oblong to ovate, moderately deep, 2.4-3.1 in SL, compressed; dorsal profile more pronounced than ventral, straight from snout to nape, then convex to dorsal origin; ventral profile nearly straight from tip of lower lip to pelvic insertion, then straight or barely convex to anus. Head length 3.0-3.7 in SL; eye width 3.5-4.4 in HL; Interorbital region with ridges. Snout elongate, length 2.6-3.6 in HL. Nostrils distant, separated by a distance equal to one-half eye diameter. Lacrimal serrate. Upper jaw slightly longer than lower; gape oblique; maxillary reaching to vertical through anterior edge of eye in young; falling short with age, reaching to vertical through region between nostril and eye in adults; jaw length 3.1-3-7 in HL; teeth in bands; outer row enlarged, inner series of villiform teeth; no teeth on vomer or palatines. Preoperculum slightly serrate, serrations largest on angle. Lower opercular spine longer and stronger; not extending beyond edge of opercular lobe. Posttemporal not exposed, covered with skin and scales. Cleithrum exposed; serrate posteriorly; scales on side. Supracleithrum exposed.

Scales finely ctenoid; lateral line continuous, smoothly curved; 4-6 scales on caudal; 14-17 predorsal scales to occiput; one row of scales in sheath at base of dorsal, sheath extending to third dorsal ray; 2-3 rows of scales in sheath at base of anal fin, sheath extending to fourth anal ray; cheek scales in 9-10 rows.

Dorsal fin continuous, length of base 1.9-2.1 in SL; spinous part arched, first spine short, fifth longest, 1.8-2.1 in HL, those following decreasing in length to last;  longest spine longer than longest ray, longest ray 1.8-2.2 in HL; soft part with posterior edge straight or slightly convex.  Spinous posrtion of anal fin with second spine strongest, length 2.2-2.8 in HL, longer than third, but shorter than longest anal rays; length of longest anal ray 2.3-2.7 in HL; soft anal with posterior edge straight or barely convex. Pectoral fins asymmetrically pointed; fourth ray longest. Pelvic fins pointed; first ray longest, filamentous, falling short of anus. Caudal fin emarginate.


To 30 cm SL; commonly 20-22 cm.


Head darker above, pale ventrally. Body greyish on back, lighter ventrally; upper half with randomly dispersed reddish brown spots, some with 5-6 incomplete vertical bars on back running ventrally to level of pectoral fin at all sizes.

Spinous portion of dorsal fin reddish brown spotted and slightly dusky at margin; soft portion dusky basally, edge outlined by light to lemon yellow, sometimes with a median dusky band. Anal fin spines lemon yellow, soft portion light yellow. Pectoral fins clear to dusky. Pelvic fins lemon yellow to deep yellow. Caudal fin spotted basally; with a black blotch extending obliquely across each lobe.


A benthic omnivore - feeds on a range of aquatic and terrestrial insects, crustaceans, polychaete worms and algae.


Usually reaches maturity at 1-2 years of age. The sexes are separate and spawning occurs in estuaries. Females produce demersal eggs that are guarded and fanned by the male parent until the larvae hatch. Individuals may live for more than 3 years.


Taken by recreational anglers, although generally considered poor eating.

Similar Species

Differs from the similar Amniataba percoides in having large transverse black blotches across each lobe of the caudal fin versus a mottled caudal fin lacking blotches in A. percoides.


The specific name caudavittata isfrom the Latin cauda (= tail) and vittatus (= striped) in reference to the prominent transverse black blotches across each lobe of the caudal fin of this species.

Species Citation

Datnia caudavittata Richardson, 1845, Zool. Erebus Terror 2: 24. Type locality: Harvey River, in freshwater, Western Australia.


Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Yellowtail Grunter, Amniataba caudavittata (Richardson 1845)


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Richardson, J. & Gray, J.E. (eds) The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror under the Command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, R.N., F.R.S., during the years 1839–43.  London : E.W. Janson Vol. 2 139 pp. See ref online

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Wise, B.S., Potter, I.C. & Wallace, J.H. 1994. Growth, movements and diet of the terapontid Amniataba caudavittata in an Australian estuary. Journal of Fish Biology 45: 917-931.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37321007

Depth:0-10 m

Fishing:Recreational fish

Habitat:Coastal marine, estuarine, freshwater

Max Size:30 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map