The Rough Bullseye is endemic to Australia, occurring in temperate waters from Kangaroo Island in South Australia to the Shark Bay Marine Park in Western Australia. They have a deep compressed body with small rough scales which vary in colour from pale pink to dark orange. There is a characteristic orange bar at the back of the head. Rough Bullseyes can grow to a maximum length of 21 centimetres. Unlike its close relative the Common Bullseye, which is often seen alone or in pairs, the Rough Bullseye is a schooling species that is found on inshore rocky reefs to depths of about 20 metres. Large schools of Rough Bullseye often appear quite eerie as they hang in the water column showing minimal movement. Specimens are usually seen in caves or under ledges during the day and actively feeding at night where their large eyes are used to locate small planktonic prey.
This species is known as a mouth brooder, where the male is the main parent and broods his clutch of fertilised eggs inside his mouth until they hatch.
Other common names include Klunzinger’s Bullseye
Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty
Rough bullseyes are seen at all life stages beneath the Busselton Jetty, from newly hatched larval fishes through to fully grown adults. Schools of rough bullseyes tend be observed in their size class, i.e. in a school of larval fishes, juveniles or adults.
Image by: S. Teede