Platycephalus fuscus Cuvier, 1829
Dusky flathead
Platycephalus fuscus
photo by Banks, I.

Family:  Platycephalidae (Flatheads)
Max. size:  120 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 15 kg
Environment:  demersal; brackish; marine; depth range 0 - 30 m
Distribution:  Western Pacific: endemic to Australia. Present along the east coast between approximately Cairns, Queensland (Ref.27242) and Gippsland lakes in eastern Victoria.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 8-9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 13-14; Anal spines: 0-0; Anal soft rays: 13-14; Vertebrae: 27-27
Biology:  Generally inhabit shallow bays and inlets and can be found in estuaries as far as tidal limits (Ref. 27246); they often invade freshwater. They occur over mud, silt gravel, sand and seagrass (mainly Zostera species) beds from intertidal areas to depths of 10 m in Queensland and to 30 m in southern New South Wales. Eggs and larvae are dispersed along the coast by tidal and current movements (Ref. 27112). Small juveniles less than 12 cm TL first appear in coastal bays 1-2 months after spawning. They mainly inhabit shallow mangrove and mud flats and seagrass beds (Ref. 27246, 27245). They are usually solitary but may form loose aggregations (Ref. 2165, 27247). Feed on small fish, crabs, prawns, small crustaceans. octopus, squid and polychaete worms. They have spines on the outer edges of their head which can inflict nasty cuts during handling (pers. comm., Bernard Moss, 2001).
IUCN Red List Status: Not Evaluated (N.E.) Ref. (126983)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:  Reported occurrence in San Miguel Bay, Philippines (Ref. 045161) is questionable as this species is known to be endemic to Australia.

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