About This Fish

Sooty Grunter


The sooty grunter (Hephaestus fuliginosus) is also known as a sooty, bream, grunter and blackbream. It belongs to the family Teraponidae under order Perciformes of class Actinopterygii. It is distributed in East coast of Queensland from about Cape Hillsborough north throughout Cape York and the Gulf of Carpentaria west through Arnhemland to the Daly River System. It inhabits coastal and inland freshwater creeks and rivers. Adult inhabits particularly the upper reaches of river systems over sandy or rocky bottoms with sparse aquatic plant growth.



The sooty grunter is a medium to large sized grunter with a heavily built body. Dorsal profile is arched with blunt snout. Interorbital space is nearly flat. Mouth is moderate and terminal with equal jaws. The sooty grunter has stocky, dark brown to sooty black, brown or gold body. The juvenile has dark blotch on soft dorsal and anal fins. Scales have dark edges and white line is present below reddish eye. It has a more concave snout-forehead profile. Spinous and soft part of dorsal fin is nearly equal. Dorsal fin has 11-12 spines and 12-14 soft rays while anal fin contains 3 spines and 8-10 soft rays. It is omnivorous fish which takes a wide variety of food including shrimp, worms, insects, frogs, algae, plant root and palm berries. Spawning occurs in summer after water levels begin to rise and water temperatures exceed about 25°C. It can tolerate acidic conditions with pH of 4.0 and temperatures between 12° and 34°C. It can grow up to 45 cm in length and 5 kg in weight.


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Location Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Queensland