Western Striped Grunter, Helotes octolineatus (Jenyns 1840)

Other Names: Eight-lined Trumpeter, Grunter, Sea Trumpeter, Shitty, Striped Perch, Striped Trumpeter, Tiger Perch, Trumpeter, Western Striped Trumpeter

Western Striped Grunter, Helotes octolineatus, in Geographe Bay, Western Australia. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef life Survey. License: CC by Attribution


The Western Striped Grunter are bluish or greyish above, becoming silvery below, with 5–8 narrow dark brown stripes along sides, a long-based dorsal fin with a deep notch two‑thirds of the way along, and teeth with 3 distinct lobes or points. 

This species was previously known as Pelates octolineatus.

Video of a school of Western Striped Grunter at a crab pot.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Helotes octolineatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/696

Western Striped Grunter, Helotes octolineatus (Jenyns 1840)

More Info


Forms schools in estuaries and river mouths from Victor Harbour to Port Lincoln, South Australia, and King George Sound to Shark Bay, Western Australia and east to Moreton Bay, Queensland, in depths of 0-15 metres.


Dorsal fin XXI–XXII, 9–11; Anal fin III, 9–11; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 15–16; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 76–87.

Body moderately shallow, elongate oval-shaped; head small; two spines dorsally on each operculum; preopercular edges serrate; eyes of moderate size; mouth small, nearly horizontal, reaching to between posterior nostril and eye; teeth tiny, each with 3 sharp points, in about 6 rows in each jaw.

Dorsal fin long-based, with a deep notch two‑thirds of the way back, soft portion diminishing in height posteriorly;  anal fin similar in size and shape as soft portion of dorsal fin;  caudal fin margin slightly concave; pectoral fins small, upper rays longest; pelvic fins small, arising distinctly behind and below pectoral fin origins, not quite reaching halfway to anus.

Scales very small, finely ctenoid, covering body and head except for area above and in front of eyes;  lateral line mostly straight, angled from above each pectoral fin. 


To 28 cm total length


Bluish or greyish above, silvery below, with five to eight fairly evenly spaced narrow dark brown longitudinal stripes; outer half of spinous portion and anterior soft portion of dorsal fin black; caudal fin with a black margin and several fainter rows of basal spots or bands.


Omnivore - often feeds on algae growing on seagrass.


The sexes are separate and fertilization is external. Western Striped Grunter spends the first year of its life in nearshore or estuarine seagrass meadows, before migrating to mature in deeper coastal waters with sparser seagrass.


Taken as bycatch in commercial prawn trawls.


This species is fairly common in South Australian rivers.

Similar Species

In the past, the Western Striped Grunter has been confused with both the tropical Pelates quadrilineatus which occurs throughout the Indo‑West Pacific, reaching into northern Australian waters, and the temperate species Pelates sexlineatus, found along Australia's east coast.

Species Citation

Helotes octolineatus Jenyns, 1842, Fishes.  In: Darwin, C. (ed.) Zool. Voy.  Beagle 4: 18. Type locality: King George's Sound, Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Australian Faunal Directory

Western Striped Grunter, Helotes octolineatus (Jenyns 1840)


Allen, G.R. & Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Terapontidae. pp. 617-619 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. (as Pelates octolineatus)

Chubb, C.F., Hutchins, J.B., Lenanton, R.C.J. & Potter, I.C. 1979. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Swan-Avon river system, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 8(1): 1-55 

Davis, A.M., Unmack, P.J., Pusey, B.J., Pearson, R.G. & Morgan, D.L. 2013. Ontogenetic development of intestinal length and relationships to diet in an Australasian fish family (Terapontidae). BMC Evolutionary Biology 13: 53, 16 pp. 

De Vis, C.W. 1884. New Australian fishes in the Queensland Museum. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 9(2): 389-400

Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs (as Pelates octolineatus)

Haacke, J.W. 1885. Diagnosen zweier bemerkenswerther südaustralischer Fische. Zoologischer Anzeiger 8(203/4): 508-509

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

Jenyns, L. 1840. Part 4 Fishes. 1-64 pls 1-15 in Darwin, C. (ed.). The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle under the command of Captain Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836. London : Smith, Elder & Co.

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) (as Pelates octolineatus)

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. (as Pelates octolineatus)

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to sea fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers pp. I-xvii + 1-434 (as Pelates octolineatus)

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

Neira, F.J., Miskiewicz, A.G. & Trnski, T. 1998. Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: laboratory guide for larval fish identification. Nedlands, Western Australia : University of Western Australia press 474 pp. (as Pelates octolineatus)

Quoy, J.R.C. & Gaimard, J.P. 1825. Chapter 9. Poissons. 329-401 pls 43-65 in Freycinet, L.C.D. de (ed.) Voyage Autour du Monde, entrepris par orde du Roi, sous le Ministère et conformément aux instructions de S. Exc. M. le Vicomte de Boucharge, secrétaire d'État au Département de la Marine exécuté sur les corvettes de S.M. l'Uranie et la Physicienne, pendent les années 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820; publié sous les auspices de S.E.M. le Conte Corbière, secrétaire d'État de l'Intérieur, pour la partie historique et les sciences naturelles, et de S.E.M. le Marquis de Clermont-Tonnerre, Secrétaire d'État de la Marine et des Colonies, pour la partie nautique; par M. Louis Freycinet, etc. Paris : Pillet Aîné Vol. 1 + atlas iv 712 pp.

Vari, R.P. 1978. The terapon perches (Percoidei, Terapontidae) a cladistic analysis and taxonomic revision. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 159(5): 175-340 figs 1-94 (as Pelates sexlineatus, in part)

Veale, L., Coulson, P., Hall, N., Hesp, A. & I.C. Potter. 2015. Age and size compositions, habitats, growth and reproductive characteristics of a terapontid (Pelates octolineatus) in coastal waters. Marine and Freshwater Research 66(6): 535-548. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF14079

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

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37321020

Depth:0-15 m

Habitat:Seagrass beds, sandy areas

Max Size:28 cm TL


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CAAB distribution map