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Western Australian Butterfish

Western Australian Butterfish

Pentapodus vitta

The Western Australian butterfish is a subtropical schooling species found inhabiting nearshore sand-weed areas (comprising Heterozostera tasmanica and Halophila ovata seagrasses) or rocky bottoms close to shore along WA’s west coast. This species is endemic to Western Australia, found from Dampier Archipelago to Geographe Bay, the species southern most limit.

Best identified by the single, curved, dark brown stripe bordered by iridescent blue lines extending from the snout to the caudal (tail) fin on a silvery base. They are carnivorous fish mainly feeding on benthic small fish, crustaceans and polychaetes (marine worms) though usually scavenging on dead fish and other organic detritus on the bottom. The Western Australian butterfish lives to a maximum age of 8 years, where the males grow more rapidly and to a larger size than females, up to 31 centimetres. Maturity is attained at the end of the first year of life.

Other common names include: the Western Whiptail, Butterfish, Striped Whiptail, Western Butterfish.

 

Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty:

Previously seen in small schools under the jetty or in the seagrass meadows.