Western Crested Morwong in South Australia

Matt Tank, @mtank, photographed this Western Crested Morwong, Goniistius gibbosus, at Port Noarlunga Jetty, South Australia. He realized that the fish was well east of its official range, in fact the species hasn't been formally recognized from South Australia. The Australian Faunal Directory states that Goniistius gibbosus occurs in coastal Western Australian waters from Shark Bay (25°30'S) to the Recherche Archipelago (122°27'E).
Janine Baker, @marinejanine, stated that "Yes, WCM has made an out of range home here. Not sure how extensive the population is, since records are localised. Probable that more eastern and western (in this case) species will become resident as southern ocean conditions keep changing."
Matt stated, "You might have noticed that there's a number of observations of this species from the same location in the last two years or so (maybe even the same individual?). I had actually seen some of these a week or two before I recorded my own observation, so it wasn't entirely unexpected. I found it underneath the stairs at the end of the jetty, which is a little bit deeper than the sandy bottom just in front of the reef, about 7m in low tide. I'm not sure if you know of the area, but here's an image."
"Given the depth and me being on snorkel, I didn't get to spend a lot of time with it, but it seemed perfectly happy foraging around the bottom. It moved off when I got too close, but wasn't too concerned. I don't know what this species' behaviour is usually like around people, but to me it acted much like any other morwong I've seen - not too skittish but not overly curious."
Matt also stated, "I'm not sure if it's useful information, but this happend to be virtually the same location that a handful of out-of-range Scorpis lineolata observations were made too. I doubt they're related, but maybe worth mentioning."
Read more about Matt on his Australasian Fishes Project member profile.
Posted on May 20, 2024 02:17 AM by markmcg markmcg


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