The silverbellies are a family of pale, silver-coloured fishes with pointed heads, downwardly protrusible mouths, and long dorsal fins extending the length of the body to the caudal fin. The whitish-silvery body has faint hues of pink or blue, and the edge of the dorsal fins are yellow. They have large eyes in comparison to the rest of the body and a well defined lateral line beginning behind the eye and extending down the length of the body to the tail fin. The species grow to a maximum length of 22 centimetres.
The southern silverbelly is abundant on soft sediment, from shallow estuaries to deep offshore sandy bottoms, to depths of 100 metres. They are benthic feeders with excellent eyesight, capturing small invertebrate prey by extending the protractile mouth forward and using suction. Southern silverbellies tend to occur in small aggregations during the day and disperse at night. They occur form Rottnest Island, WA to Merimbula, NSW and around Tasmania.
Other common names include: Melbourne Silverbelly
Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty:
The southern silverbelly is commonly observed from the underwater observatory, and can be viewed throughout the day.
Image by: O.Rynvis