About This Fish


The flathead (Platycephalus fuscus) is a marine ray finned fish which belongs to family Platycephalidae under order Scorpaeniformes of class Actinopterygii. It is also known as Black flathead, dusky flathead, estuary flathead, flattie, mud flathead, river flathead. It is found in estuaries, estuarine lakes and coastal bays on the east coast of Australia, from Cairns in Queensland to the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria. It occurs over any mud, silt, gravel and sand and sea grass in the intertidal zone between 1-30 meters of water.

The flathead has long dark and tapering body with flat-triangular shaped head. Body color varies from sandy with brown spots and blotches to dark brown or black with white spots. It has a distinctive black spot on the caudal fin and under surface of head is pale pink. Pectoral fin is densely spotted with brown color. The mouth is large, wide and symmetrical. It has two short spines on either side of the heads which contains venom. Eyes are situated on the upper surface of the body. It has two complete dorsal fins, the first one is supported by 8-9 strong spines while second with 13-14 soft rays. Anal fin contains 13-14 soft rays. Its food consists of small fish, crabs, prawns, small crustaceans, octopus, squid and polychaete worms. Male reaches sexual maturity at the age of 1.2 years while female at 4 years. Spawning takes place between November and March either in the lower reaches of estuaries or near shore coastal waters. It grows up to 150 cm in length and 15 kg in weight.

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