The wavy grubfish is endemic to Australia, common on sheltered sand and rubble near shallow, coastal reefs from Point Quobba, WA to Gulf St Vincent, SA. They can be recognised by their elongate body, long dorsal and anal fins and a pointed snout. Their colour pattern is distinctive with a pale lower section and light brown upper section of body, separated by a dark wavy line in between. The male has a black line above the upper lip, while the female has two spots. Juveniles have a cryptic nature, often solitary and well hidden under solid objects. Adults are often in pairs, but do not stay close together and have a distinctive habit of sitting on the substrate perched on their strong ventral fins.
The wavy grubfish are inquisitive, alert and aggressive fish despite their small size of up to 11 centimetres. Males display aggressive behaviour towards other fish as he vigorously defends his territory, which is often a burrow under a solid object such as a rock or dead shell. Their diet comprises benthic crustaceans and anything small that moves.
Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty:
Wavy grubfish are quite often spotted perched on their pectoral fins on the seafloor, however are difficult to spot unless they move as they camouflage brilliantly amongst the sand rubble.
Image by: O. Rynvis