Category Australia – temperate

Pink snapper

Pagrus auratus

Strictly, or scientifically speaking, the pink snapper (Pagus auratus) is not actually a “snapper” at all! The snappers are a large and diverse group of robust-bodied, carnivorous fishes and belong to the family Lutjanidae. Like many other Australian species, the pink snapper inherited its name from the northern species it most closely resembles, but is in fact a member of the family Sparidae, which are sea bream or porgies.

The pink snapper is a very attractive fish, silvery in colour, with a pink to brown upper body. The sides are sprinkled with bright blue spots that are more prominent in juveniles. The top, tail and side fins are also pink, while the bottom fins range in colour from pale-pink to creamy-white.

Snapper have been known to live 30 years – a ri...

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Seadragons: weedy and leafy


There are two species of seadragons to be found in Australian waters, the common or weedy seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus), and the leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques).

These spectacular fish, along with seahorses, pipehorses and pipefish belong to the family Syngnathidae. Syngnathids are long, slender fish with bony plates surrounding their bodies. They have a long tubular snout and a tough solid hide and their eyes move independently of each other. They have no teeth or stomach and grow to around 30 to 50cm. The weedy seadragon is the only seadragon species confirmed to be found in Tasmania.

The leafy seadragon is usually green gold and orange with appendages that look like leaves (great for camouflage) and is generally more ornate than the weedy seadragon.


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Tasmania has a spectacular coastline and diverse marine environment. Seagrass habitats in Tasmania, as elsewhere in the world, have been lost, fragmented and damaged by development and poor catchment management, through practices such as sewage and stormwater discharges, urban runoff, dredging, boating and land reclamation.

Seagrass meadows play a key ecological role in Australia’s coastal ecosystems and the loss of seagrass beds is considered to be one of the most serious issues in Australia’s marine environment. There are thought to be less than 70 species of seagrasses worldwide, about half of which are present around Australia’s 32,000-kilometre coastline. Six marine species of seagrass are recorded around Tasmania, while an additional two species occur in estuaries...

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Sea Chubs


Kyphosidae, drummers or sea chubs are coastal reef fishes, found in the warm temperate seas of Australia. There are over 40 species, of which only a limited number will be found in the region. Their diet normally consists of encrusting invertebrate communities and algae but some species, such as the blue maomao and the sweep feed mainly on plankton. Their bodies are thickly built and oval shaped with one dorsal fin. Their body and median fins are covered in small, weakly ctenoid scales (resembling the teeth of a comb).

The southern silver drummer (Kyphosus sydneyanus) has grey body, a dark spot below the pectoral fin base and a large caudal (tail) fin. It grows to 75cm in length and can be found on coastal rocky reefs, in harbours and bays...

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Lobsters, like shrimps and crabs, are decapods – literally meaning 10 legs – and can be found in all of the world’s tropical and sub-tropical seas as well as more temperate waters like these around Tasmania and Southern Australia. They are predatory, nocturnal animals with a vividly decorated coat. They are often numerous locally; they linger in crevices (with their long antennae sticking out) during the day and hunt small benthic organisms at night, but they also feed on organic detritus whenever they happen across it. As with all crustaceans, the lobster moults or sheds its shell to grow.

Lobsters have recently suffered a dramatic demographic decline; intensive fishing has annihilated entire populations, especially where tourism abounds.

The lobster families that you may e...

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