Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory



<I>Pelsartia humeralis</I>

Pelsartia humeralis


Regional Maps

External Links

CAAB: 37321000



Compiler and date details

1 May 2018 - Gerald R. Allen, Norbert J. Cross, Douglass F. Hoese & Matthew M. Lockett

20 February 2012 - Gerald R. Allen, Norbert J. Cross, Douglass F. Hoese & Matthew M. Lockett

December 2006 - Gerald R. Allen, Norbert J. Cross & Douglass F. Hoese


The family Terapontidae comprises 16 genera and 59 species (Nelson et al. 2016, Shelley et al 2017). Forty-one species belonging to 13 genera are represented in Australia. Nine of the Australian species are marine and estuary dwellers and some of these have relatively wide-ranging distributions. The remaining species are restricted to inland waters and are treated in Allen et al. (2002), Shelley et al. (2017).

Terapontids or grunters are relatively abundant, particularly in northern rivers. Some species, especially members of the genus Hephaestus, are excellent eating. Their diet varies with species (Davis et al. 2013) with some carnivores, some omnivores and others herbivores (consuming primarily algae). Diet also changes with size in some species (Davis et al 2011, 2012). The maximum size reached is about 30 cm in length, although most grunters are considerably smaller.

Vari (1978) reviewed the grunters, providing keys, diagnoses and illustrations for all species, save four species that were treated by Vari & Hutchins (1978), Allen & Merrick (1984) and Allen et al. (1993). Relationships based on molecular studies are discussed in Davis et al. (2013) and Pusey et al (2016). Vari (1978) noted that the original spelling of the type genus of the family is Terapon and that Therapon, which has been commonly used, is an unjustified emendation. Consequently the spelling of the family name should be Terapontidae rather than Therapontidae or Theraponidae. For species names we have given the original spelling where Therapon has been used, but note, that technically, it is an unjustified emendation or misspelling.


Excluded Taxa

Other Excluded

TERAPONTIDAE: Papuservus trimaculatus (Macleay, 1883) [recorded by Whitley 1964, based on doubtful record from Cape York, species is now regarded as Hephaestus trimaculatus] — Allen, G.R. 1991. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of New Guinea. Madang : Christensen Research Institute 268 pp. [Publication No. 9 of the Christensen Research Institute] [126]


General References

Allen, G.R., Larson, H.K. & Midgley, S.H. 1993. A new species of Scortum Whitley (Pisces: Terapontidae) from the Northern Territory, Australia. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 10(1): 71-74

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Merrick, J.R. 1984. A new species of freshwater grunter (Pisces : Terapontidae) from northern Australia. The Beagle. Occasional Papers of the Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences 1(8): 75-80 figs 1-3

Davis, A.M., Blanchette, M.L., Pusey, B.J., Jardine, T.D. & Pearson, R.G. 2012. Gut content and stable isotope analyses provide complementary understanding of ontogenetic dietary shifts and trophic relationships among fishes in a tropical river. Freshwater Biology 57: 2156–2172

Davis, A.M., Pusey, B.J. & Pearson, R.G. 2011. Trophic ecology of terapontid grunters: the role of morphology and ontogeny. Journal of Fish Biology 63: 128–141

Davis, A.M., Unmack, P.J., Pusey, B.J., Pearson, R.G. & Morgan, D.L. 2013. Ontogenetic development of intestinal length and relationships to diet in an Australasian fish family (Terapontidae). BMC Evolutionary Biology 13: 53, 16 pp.

Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. 2006. Fishes. In, Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 35. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp. [1331]

Nelson, J.S., Grande, T.C. & Wilson, M.V.H. 2016. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons 5, 752 pp.

Pusey, B.J., Bentley, A., Burrow, D., Perna, C., Davis, A. & Hughes, J. 2016. Complex and contrasting evolutionary histories within the terapontid genus Hephaestus revealed by nuclear and mitochondrial genes. Marine and Freshwater Research 67(12): 1813–1825

Shelley, J.J., Delaval, A., & Le Feuvre, M.C. 2017. A revision of the grunter genus Syncomistes (Teleostei, Terapontidae, Syncomistes) with descriptions of seven new species from the Kimberley region, northwestern Australia. Zootaxa 4367(1): 1-103

Vari, R.P. 1978. The terapon perches (Percoidei, Terapontidae) a cladistic analysis and taxonomic revision. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 159(5): 175-340 figs 1-94

Vari, R.P. & Hutchins, J.B. 1978. New species of terapon perches (Percoidei, Terapontidae) from Australia. American Museum Novitates 2654: 1-8 figs 1-9

Waite, E.R. 1905. Notes on fishes from Western Australia. No. 3. Records of the Australian Museum 6(2): 55-82 fig. 23 pls 8-17 [pl. 9]


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
04-Feb-2023 TERAPONTIDAE 04-Feb-2023 MODIFIED
03-Sep-2018 TERAPONTIDAE 18-Jan-2023 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese Dr Matthew Lockett
05-Dec-2012 05-Dec-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)