Scalytail Toadfish, Torquigener squamicauda (Ogilby 1910)

Other Names: Brushtail Toadfish, Scaly Tailed Toadfish, Scaly-tailed Toadfish, Scaly-tailed Toado, Weeping Toado

A Scalytail Toadfish, Torquigener squamicauda, in Botany Bay, Sydney, New South Wales. Source: Klaus Stiefel / Flickr. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale grey to olive-green speckled pufferfish becoming white below, with a black stripe along the side from above the pectoral-fin base to the caudal-fin base, that continues on the head below the eye onto the prominent chin (stripe sometimes very faint or indistinct on the head), and no vertical lines or stripes on the cheek.
The Scalytail Toadfish is densely covered in dermal spines, and has well-developed flattened papillae associated with the upper lateral line on the caudal peduncle.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Torquigener squamicauda in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Mar 2024,

Scalytail Toadfish, Torquigener squamicauda (Ogilby 1910)

More Info


Endemic to eastern Australia from about Bowen, Queensland, to south of Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Usually inhabits sandy areas in clear sheltered bays, estuaries and coastal waters, at depths to about 10 m. Individuals often lie partly buried in sand, and sometimes aggregate in large numbers.


Dorsal fin 9-10; Anal fin 7-8; Pectoral fin 13-17; Caudal fin 11; Vertebrae 7 + 11,8 + 10,8 + 11. 
Upper and lower lateral lines associated with strongly developed double rows of flattened spine-enveloping papillae, extending from posterior margin of main spinous covering to caudal fin base; dense array of spines on the back and cheek, and overlapping the whole length of the prebranchial margin.


Pale grey to olive-green, with many small, irregularly scattered greenish to brown flecks, giving a very speckled appearance; greenish-brown tinge continued on cheeks, grading to white ventrally; sometimes faintly discernable darker bands cross the top of the head between eyes and dorsal fin, and through the dorsal-fin base; dark stripe along sides from above pectoral fin insert to middle of caudal fin base; yellowish to silvery-grey along sides between lateral stripe and ventrolateral skin fold; band of small greyish specks around chin; belly white; pectoral, dorsal and anal fins pale, caudal fin with a yellowish-brown tinge along middle rays.


Occasionally taken as by-catch in prawn trawl fisheries.

Similar Species

Differs from the Yelloweye Toadfish, Torquigener parcupsinus, which also has well-developed papillae associated with the upper lateral line on the caudal peduncle, in having much more densely arranged spines on the back that project from wider papillae, and a dense overlay of spines on the prebranchial margin. T. parcuspinus also lacks a dark stripe along the side.
The similar Weeping Toadfish, Torquigener pleurogramma, has vertical ("tear-like") lines on the cheek.


The specific name squamicauda  is from the Latin squamus (= scale) and cauda (= tail) in reference to the strongly developed double rows of flattened spine-enveloping papillae on both sides of lateral line that extend onto the caudal-fin base.

Species Citation

Spheroides squamicauda Ogilby, 1910, Proc. Roy. Soc. Qld 23(1): 17. Type locality: coast of southern Queensland (Moreton Bay).


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Scalytail Toadfish, Torquigener squamicauda (Ogilby 1910)


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Ogilby, J.D. 1910. On new or insufficiently described fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 23(1): 1-55.

Shao, K., Leis, J.L., Hardy, G., Jing, L., Liu, M. & Matsuura, K. 2014. Torquigener squamicauda. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. . Downloaded on 19 March 2015.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467061

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:May be poisonous

Depth:0-25 m

Habitat:Sandy areas

Max Size:15 cm TL


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CAAB distribution map