Rosy Weedfish, Heteroclinus roseus (Günther 1861)

Other Names: Brown Weedfish, Pink Weedfish

A Rosy Weedfish, Heteroclinus roseus, at Minnie Water, New South Walas, May 2020. Source: @lizzydem / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

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, mottled fins with transparent areas and a dark margin, and free tips on the dorsal-fin spines.
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. 2022, Heteroclinus roseus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Feb 2023,

Rosy Weedfish, Heteroclinus roseus (Günther 1861)

More Info


Minnie Water, New South Wales, around southern Australia, 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 macroalgal covered reefs.


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.


Weedfish 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 (the colour varies greatly in this species).

Species Citation

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


Bray, D.J. 2022


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. 

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds). The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services.

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.

Kuiter, 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. 

Waite, E.R. 1904. New records or recurrences of rare fishes from eastern Australia. No. 3. Records of the Australian Museum 5(4): 231–244

Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. 2021. The Perth coast fish book. Identification guide Mandurah to Two Rocks. Perth : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services, 290 pp.

Whitley, G.P. 1931. New names for Australian fishes. The Australian Zoologist 6(4): 310-334 1 fig. pls 25-27 (described as Petraites sellularis, type locality Balmoral Beach, Sydney, NSW) See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37416023

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-35 m

Habitat:Reef associated, algal beds

Max Size:15 cm TL


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CAAB distribution map