Slender Weed Whiting, Siphonognathus attenuatus (Ogilby, 1897)
Short-nose Weed Whiting, Short-snouted Pencil Weed Whiting, Slender Rock Whiting
The Slender Weed Whiting is a small species that lives over sandy areas adjacent to seagrass and algae.
The species can be recognised by its colouration. It is brown above, white below and has a dark brown stripe along the side of the body. There is a prominent white-ringed black spot on the caudal fin.
In most recent publications, the Slender Weed Whiting, along with the other odacid fishes have been placed in the family Odacidae. Recent work of Clements et al (2004) proposed that the family Odacidae be considered as a subfamily (the Odacinae) within the Labridae (the wrasses).
It lives over sandy areas adjacent to seagrass or rocky reefs, usually at depths of 1 m to 20 m (see comment below from David Muirhead).
The Slender Weed Whiting is endemic to Australia. It occurs from southern Victoria and Tasmania to south-western Western Australia.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Other behaviours and adaptations
On a number of occasions, South Australian diver David Muirhead has observed Slender Weed Whitings staying motionless at night in a vertical position, with the head pointing downward. David reported that on one occasion he was surprised to observe a Slender Weed Whiting drifting at night over an expanse of featureless white sand in a vertical position, but with the head pointing upward not downward.
- Clements, K.D., Alfaro, M.E., Fessler, J.L. & M.W. Westneat. 2004. Relationships of the temperate Australasian labrid fish tribe Odacini (Perciformes; Teleostei). Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution. 32: 575-587.
- Gomon, M.F., Bray, D. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 2008. The Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Reed New Holland. Pp. 928.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.