Rosy Weedfish, Heteroclinus roseus (Günther 1861)

Other Names: Brown Weedfish, Pink Weedfish

A Rosy Weedfish, Heteroclinus roseus, at Gordons Bay, Clovelly, New South Wales. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A mottled yellowish, reddish to brownish weedfish with 7 reddish marbled bands extending onto the dorsal and anal fins, a blackish blotch surrounded by white on the middle of pectoral-fin base, and mottled fins with transparent areas and a dark margin.
The Rosy Weedfish has a relatively large orbital tentacle that is simple, crenulate, or has a rounded tip with several lateral lobes. The nasal tentacle has 3-4 slender lobes.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Heteroclinus roseus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 May 2022,

Rosy Weedfish, Heteroclinus roseus (Günther 1861)

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Minnie Waters, New South Wales, to Shark Bay, Western Australia; also Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Records from tropical areas outside Australia are most likely misidentifications of the weedfish Springeratus.
Inhabits reefs covered in macroalgae.


Dorsal fin III, XXIV-XXVII, 3-5; Anal fin  II, 19-22; Caudal fin (segmented) 9-11; Pectoral fin 11-13; Pelvic fin I, 3; Lateral line scales (arched) 16-25 + (straight) 20-29; Gill rakers 1-2 + 6-8 = 7-10.

Body moderately deep, strongly compressed; two dorsal fins connected at most near base, first dorsal fin arising over or behind rear margin of eye. 


Colour variable, mottled, yellowish-red to deep pinkish-red or brown; 7 reddish marbled bands along the side, broken into sections and extending onto dorsal and anal fins; blackish blotch surrounded by white on middle of pectoral-fin base; dorsal, caudal and anal fins mottled with a dark edge and transparent areas; head mottled with large white spots on mouth, cheek, operculum, pectoral-fin base and abdomen; short dark bar posterior to middle of eye, second oblique dark bar posteroventrally from eye to rear end of pectoral-fin base.


Weedfishes have internal fertilisation and females give birth to live young.


The specific name is from the Latin roseus (= rose-coloured) in reference to the rosy colour of this species.

Species Citation

Cristiceps roseus Günther 1861, Cat. Fishes Brit. Mus. 3: 274. Type locality: Freycinet's Harbour, Western Australia; New Guinea (syntypes).


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Rosy Weedfish, Heteroclinus roseus (Günther 1861)


Francis, M.P. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170.

Francis, M.P. 2019. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Version: 2019.2 figshare. Collection.

Fricke, R., McEachran, J. & Williams, J.T. 2010. Heteroclinus roseus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154958A4677100. Downloaded on 17 August 2016.

Günther, A. 1861. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the acanthopterygian fishes in the collection of the British Museum. London : British Museum Vol. 3 586 pp. 

Hoese, D.F., Gomon, M.F. & Rennis, D.S. 2008. Family Clinidae. pp. 696-722 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

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

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

uiter, R. & Kuiter, S. 2018. Coastal sea-fishes of south-eastern Australia. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, 371 pp.

McCulloch, A.R. 1908. Studies in Australian fishes, No. 1. Records of the Australian Museum 7(1): 36-43 pls 10-11

Rennis, D., Hoese, D.F. & Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Clinidae. pp. 741-775, figs 650-684B 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.

Thomson, J.M. 1978. A Field Guide to the Common Sea & Estuary Fishes of Non-tropical Australia. Sydney : Collins 144 pp. 

Whitley, G.P. 1931. New names for Australian fishes. The Australian Zoologist 6(4): 310-334 1 fig. pls 25-27

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37416023

Biology:Live bearer

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-35 m

Habitat:Reef associated, algal beds

Max Size:15 cm TL


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