The Leopard Wirrah is a species endemic to Western Australia where it is found only on the west coast from Cape Leeuwin to the North West Cape. A demersal fish, Leopard Wirrahs prefer habitats of caves and crevices in coastal waters. Leopard Wirrahs have a dark greenish brown to grey base colour with small black dots, blotches and scribbles. Their appearance is very similar to the Western Wirrah, with the only distinguishing feature being the black markings take on a more scribbled or blotched appearance rather than distinctly being spotted. This fish was only recently discovered as a new separate species in 1981 by Barry Hutchins of the West Australian Museum.
Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty:
The Leopard Wirrah has not been sighted as often as their cousin the Western Wirrah, but has been occasionally seen near the seafloor, resting under ledges and in crevices around the base of the piles. Leopard Wirrahs can be distinguished by the presence of more blob shaped markings rather than spots.
Image by: S. Daniels