These fishes are endemic to Australian waters and found from the Bass Strait, around Tasmania and across to South West Australia. Tubemouths can reach a maximum length of 45cm and are part of the fish family Labridae which also includes all species of wrasse. A very long and thin fish, they are vividly coloured green along the dorsal margin and usually with a dark reddish brown lateral stripe. This colouring makes their overall appearance very similar to a blade of seagrass, meadows of which are this species main habitat. Tubemouths have an unusual pointed barbel protruding from the tip of the mouth and their caudal fin is also distinctly pointed.
Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty:
Tubemouths are a rare visitor to the Underwater Observatory. With its fantastic ability to camouflage amongst Southern Strapweed (Posidonia sp.), only a few have been sighted from the observatory. Close observation of floating seagrass may reveal the presence of a small yellow eye and fins, or the Tubemouth may decide to swim against the prevailing current – confirming that it is in fact a fish!