Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Sydney has a speciose but little studied marine ichthyofauna, comprising elements of both tropical and warm/cool temperate origins. Recent surveys suggest that around 600 species have been found in Sydney's coastal waters, some of which are tropical visitors or cold-temperate vagrants. Here I briefly survey the diversity of Sydney's fish fauna, highlighting key aspects of life history that relate to distribution, and key habitats. Several iconic species are described in more detail, and local and climate change threats are outlined in relation to mitigation opportunities.

Alquezar, R., Markich, S.J., and Booth, D.J. 2006a. Metal accumulation in the smooth toadfish, Tetractenos glaber, in estuaries around Sydney, Australia. Environmental Pollution 142:116-122.
Alquezar, R., Markich, S.J., and Booth D.J. 2006b. Effects of metals on condition and reproductive output of the smooth toadfish in Sydney estuaries, south-eastern Australia. Environmental Pollution 142:123-131.
Anon 2006. Temporary closure of commercial fishing in Sydney Harbour. Food Australia. 58: 170-170.
Birch, G.F. 1996. Sediment-bound metallic contaminants in Sydney's estuaries and adjacent offshore, Australia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 42: 31-44.
Booth, D.J. and Skene, C., 2006. Rapid assessment of endocrine disruption: vitellogenin (Vg) expression in male toadfishes Australian Journal of Ecotoxicology 12:3-8.
Booth, D.J, Figueira, W.F, Gregson, M.A., Brown, L., and Beretta, G.A. 2007. Occurrence of tropical fishes in temperate southeastern Australia: role of the East Australian Current. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science. 72: 102-114
Buckle, E. and Booth, D.J. 2009. Ontogeny of space use and diet of two temperate damselfish species, Parma microlepis and Parma unifasciata. Marine Biology 156:1497-1505
Chapman, M.G. and Clynick, B.G. 2006. Experiments testing the use of waste material in estuaries as habitat for subtidal organisms. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 338: 164-178.
Clements, K.D. 1991. Endosymbiotic communities of two herbivorous labroid fishes, Odax cyanomelas and O. pullus.Marine Biology 109: 223-229.
Clynick, B., Chapman, M.G. 2002. Assemblages of small fish in patchy mangrove forests in Sydney Harbour. Marine and Freshwater Research. 53: 669-677.
Clynick, B.G., Chapman, M.G., Underwood, A.J. 2007. Effects of epibiota on assemblages of fish associated with urban structures. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 332: 201-210.
Coleman, M.A., and Connell, S.D. 2001. Weak effects of epibiota on the abundances of fishes associated with pier pilings in Sydney Harbour. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 61: 231-239.
Dempster, T. 2005. Temporal variability of pelagic fish assemblages around fish aggregation devices: biological and physical influences. Journal of Fish Biology. 66: 1237-1260.
Figueira W.F., Booth D.J. 2010 Increasing ocean temperatures allow tropical fishes to survive over winter in temperate waters. Global Change Biology. 16: 506-516
Folpp, H., Lowry, M. 2006. Factors affecting recreational catch rates associated with a fish aggregating device (FAD) off the NSW coast, Australia. Bulletin of Marine Sciences. 78: 185-193.
Gaston, T.F., Kostoglidis, A., Suthers, I.M. 2004. The C-13, N-15 and S-34 signatures of a rocky reef planktivorous fish indicate different coastal discharges of sewage. Marine and Freshwater Research. 55: 689-699.
Gillanders, B.M. 2002. Connectivity between juvenile and adult fish populations: do adults remain near their recruitment estuaries? Marine Ecology Progress Series. 240: 215-223.
Gladstone, W. 2007. Selection of a spawning aggregation site by Chromis hypsilepis (Pisces: Pomacentridae): habitat structure, transport potential, and food availability. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 351:235-247 doi: 10.3354/meps07108
Huveneers, C., Walker, T.I. Otway, N.M. and Harcourt, R.G. 2007. Reproductive synchrony of three sympatric species of wobbegong shark (genus Orectolobus) in New South Wales, Australia: reproductive parameter estimates necessary for population modelling. Marine and Freshwater Research. 58: 765-777.
Jelbart, J.E., Ross, P.M., and Connelly, R.M. 2007. Fish assemblages in seagrass beds are influenced by the proximity of mangrove forests. Marine Biology. 150: 993-1002.
Jones, A.R., Gladstone, W. and N.J. Hacking 2007. Australian sandy-beach ecosystems and climate change: ecology and management. Australian Zoologist 34: 190-201.
Kawase, H. 2005. Spawning behavior of the pygmy leatherjacket Brachaluteres jacksonianus (Monacanthidae) in southeastern Australia. Ichthyological Research. 52: 194-197
Kritzer, J.P. and P.F. Sale (eds.) 2006 Marine Metapopulations. Academic Press, San Diego. 544pp.
Lowry, M.B. 2003. Age and growth of Cheilodactylus fuscus, a temperate rocky reef fish. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 37: 159-170.
Lowry, M.B. and I.M. Suthers. 1998. Home range and homing behaviour of a temperature rocky reef fish, Cheilodactylus fuscus. Marine Biology 132: 569-578.
Mazumder, D., Saintilan, N., and Williams, R.J. 2006. Fish assemblages in three tidal marshes and mangrove flats in temperate NSW, Australia: a comparison based on species diversity and abundance. Wetlands Ecology and Management. 14: 201-209.
McGrouther, M.A. 2008. http://www.amonline.net.au/fishes/fishfacts/sydney.htm accessed February 2008
Paxton, J.R., and McGrouther, M.A. 1997. A history of the fish collection at the Australian Museum (1860-1968), with a summary of current Australian fish collections. in Pietsch, T.W. & W. Anderson (Eds) Collection building in ichthyology and herpetology. Special Publication of the American Society of Ichthyology and Herpetology. 183-205 pp.
Ridgway K. R. 2007. Long-term trend and decadal variability of the southward penetration of the East Australian Current. Geophysical Research. 34:L13613. doi:10.1029/2007GL030393
Roach, A.C. and Runcie, J. 1998. Levels of selected chlorinated hydrocarbons in edible fish tissues from polluted areas in the Georges/Cooks rivers and Sydney harbour, New South Wales, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 36: 323-344.
Rotherham, D. and West, R.J. 2002. Do different seagrass species support distinct fish communities in south-eastern Australia? Fisheries Management and Ecology. 9: 235-248.
Sanchez-Camara, J. and Booth, D.J. 2004. Abundance, movement, home range and site fidelity of the Weedy Seadragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus (Teleostei: Syngnathidae) Environmental Biology of Fishes. 70: 31-41.
Sanchez-Camara, J., Booth, D.J. and Turon, X. 2005. Reproductive cycle and growth of Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. Journal of Fish Biology 67, 133-148.
Sanchez-Camara J, Booth D.J., Murdoch, J., Watts, D., Turon, X. 2006. Density, habitat use and behaviour of the weedy seadragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus (Teleostei: Syngnathidae) around Sydney, New SouthWales, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 57:737-745.
Scandol, J., Rowling, K. and Graham, K. Eds 2008 Status of Fisheries Resources in NSW 2006/07, NSW. Department of Primary Industries, Cronulla, 334 pp.
Silberschneider, V. & Booth, D. J. 2001. Resource use by Enneapterygius rufopileus and other rockpool fishes. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 61:195-204
Tricklebank, K.A., Kingsford, M.J. and Rose, H.A. 2002. Organochlorine pesticides and hexachlorobenzene along the central coast of New South Wales: multi-scale distributions using the territorial damselfish Parma microlepis as an indicator. Environmental Pollution. 116: 319-335.
Tzioumis, V. and Kingsford, M.J. 1999. Reproductive biology and growth of the temperate damselfish Parma microlepis. Copeia. 1999: 348-361.
Underwood, A. J., Kingsford, M. J., and Andrew, N. L. 1991. Patterns. in shallow subtidal marine assemblages along the coast of New. South Wales. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology. 54:123-138
Upston, J., and Booth, D.J. 2002. Settlement and density of juvenile fish assemblages in natural, Zostera capricorni (Zosteraceae) and artificial seagrass beds. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 66:91-99.
Vincent, A.C.J., Evans, K.L., Marsden, A.D. 2005. Home range behaviour of the monogamous Australian seahorse, Hippocampus whitei. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 72: 1-12.
Warner, R.R., Chesson, P.L. 1985. Coexistence mediated by recruitment fluctuations - a field guide to the storage effect. American Naturalist 125: 769-787
Wressnig, A. and Booth, D.J. 2007. Selection of seagrass morphology by 2 species of sympatric leatherjacket fish I Sydney estuaries. Journal of Fish Biology 71:272-278.
York, P.H., Booth, D.J., Glasby, T.M., Pease, B.C. 2006. Fish assemblages in habitats dominated by Caulerpa taxifolia and native seagrasses in south-eastern Australia Marine Ecology Progress Series 312: 223-234.
This content is PDF only. Please click on the PDF icon to access.

Contents

Figures & Tables

References

Alquezar, R., Markich, S.J., and Booth, D.J. 2006a. Metal accumulation in the smooth toadfish, Tetractenos glaber, in estuaries around Sydney, Australia. Environmental Pollution 142:116-122.
Alquezar, R., Markich, S.J., and Booth D.J. 2006b. Effects of metals on condition and reproductive output of the smooth toadfish in Sydney estuaries, south-eastern Australia. Environmental Pollution 142:123-131.
Anon 2006. Temporary closure of commercial fishing in Sydney Harbour. Food Australia. 58: 170-170.
Birch, G.F. 1996. Sediment-bound metallic contaminants in Sydney's estuaries and adjacent offshore, Australia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 42: 31-44.
Booth, D.J. and Skene, C., 2006. Rapid assessment of endocrine disruption: vitellogenin (Vg) expression in male toadfishes Australian Journal of Ecotoxicology 12:3-8.
Booth, D.J, Figueira, W.F, Gregson, M.A., Brown, L., and Beretta, G.A. 2007. Occurrence of tropical fishes in temperate southeastern Australia: role of the East Australian Current. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science. 72: 102-114
Buckle, E. and Booth, D.J. 2009. Ontogeny of space use and diet of two temperate damselfish species, Parma microlepis and Parma unifasciata. Marine Biology 156:1497-1505
Chapman, M.G. and Clynick, B.G. 2006. Experiments testing the use of waste material in estuaries as habitat for subtidal organisms. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 338: 164-178.
Clements, K.D. 1991. Endosymbiotic communities of two herbivorous labroid fishes, Odax cyanomelas and O. pullus.Marine Biology 109: 223-229.
Clynick, B., Chapman, M.G. 2002. Assemblages of small fish in patchy mangrove forests in Sydney Harbour. Marine and Freshwater Research. 53: 669-677.
Clynick, B.G., Chapman, M.G., Underwood, A.J. 2007. Effects of epibiota on assemblages of fish associated with urban structures. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 332: 201-210.
Coleman, M.A., and Connell, S.D. 2001. Weak effects of epibiota on the abundances of fishes associated with pier pilings in Sydney Harbour. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 61: 231-239.
Dempster, T. 2005. Temporal variability of pelagic fish assemblages around fish aggregation devices: biological and physical influences. Journal of Fish Biology. 66: 1237-1260.
Figueira W.F., Booth D.J. 2010 Increasing ocean temperatures allow tropical fishes to survive over winter in temperate waters. Global Change Biology. 16: 506-516
Folpp, H., Lowry, M. 2006. Factors affecting recreational catch rates associated with a fish aggregating device (FAD) off the NSW coast, Australia. Bulletin of Marine Sciences. 78: 185-193.
Gaston, T.F., Kostoglidis, A., Suthers, I.M. 2004. The C-13, N-15 and S-34 signatures of a rocky reef planktivorous fish indicate different coastal discharges of sewage. Marine and Freshwater Research. 55: 689-699.
Gillanders, B.M. 2002. Connectivity between juvenile and adult fish populations: do adults remain near their recruitment estuaries? Marine Ecology Progress Series. 240: 215-223.
Gladstone, W. 2007. Selection of a spawning aggregation site by Chromis hypsilepis (Pisces: Pomacentridae): habitat structure, transport potential, and food availability. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 351:235-247 doi: 10.3354/meps07108
Huveneers, C., Walker, T.I. Otway, N.M. and Harcourt, R.G. 2007. Reproductive synchrony of three sympatric species of wobbegong shark (genus Orectolobus) in New South Wales, Australia: reproductive parameter estimates necessary for population modelling. Marine and Freshwater Research. 58: 765-777.
Jelbart, J.E., Ross, P.M., and Connelly, R.M. 2007. Fish assemblages in seagrass beds are influenced by the proximity of mangrove forests. Marine Biology. 150: 993-1002.
Jones, A.R., Gladstone, W. and N.J. Hacking 2007. Australian sandy-beach ecosystems and climate change: ecology and management. Australian Zoologist 34: 190-201.
Kawase, H. 2005. Spawning behavior of the pygmy leatherjacket Brachaluteres jacksonianus (Monacanthidae) in southeastern Australia. Ichthyological Research. 52: 194-197
Kritzer, J.P. and P.F. Sale (eds.) 2006 Marine Metapopulations. Academic Press, San Diego. 544pp.
Lowry, M.B. 2003. Age and growth of Cheilodactylus fuscus, a temperate rocky reef fish. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 37: 159-170.
Lowry, M.B. and I.M. Suthers. 1998. Home range and homing behaviour of a temperature rocky reef fish, Cheilodactylus fuscus. Marine Biology 132: 569-578.
Mazumder, D., Saintilan, N., and Williams, R.J. 2006. Fish assemblages in three tidal marshes and mangrove flats in temperate NSW, Australia: a comparison based on species diversity and abundance. Wetlands Ecology and Management. 14: 201-209.
McGrouther, M.A. 2008. http://www.amonline.net.au/fishes/fishfacts/sydney.htm accessed February 2008
Paxton, J.R., and McGrouther, M.A. 1997. A history of the fish collection at the Australian Museum (1860-1968), with a summary of current Australian fish collections. in Pietsch, T.W. & W. Anderson (Eds) Collection building in ichthyology and herpetology. Special Publication of the American Society of Ichthyology and Herpetology. 183-205 pp.
Ridgway K. R. 2007. Long-term trend and decadal variability of the southward penetration of the East Australian Current. Geophysical Research. 34:L13613. doi:10.1029/2007GL030393
Roach, A.C. and Runcie, J. 1998. Levels of selected chlorinated hydrocarbons in edible fish tissues from polluted areas in the Georges/Cooks rivers and Sydney harbour, New South Wales, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 36: 323-344.
Rotherham, D. and West, R.J. 2002. Do different seagrass species support distinct fish communities in south-eastern Australia? Fisheries Management and Ecology. 9: 235-248.
Sanchez-Camara, J. and Booth, D.J. 2004. Abundance, movement, home range and site fidelity of the Weedy Seadragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus (Teleostei: Syngnathidae) Environmental Biology of Fishes. 70: 31-41.
Sanchez-Camara, J., Booth, D.J. and Turon, X. 2005. Reproductive cycle and growth of Phyllopteryx taeniolatus. Journal of Fish Biology 67, 133-148.
Sanchez-Camara J, Booth D.J., Murdoch, J., Watts, D., Turon, X. 2006. Density, habitat use and behaviour of the weedy seadragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus (Teleostei: Syngnathidae) around Sydney, New SouthWales, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 57:737-745.
Scandol, J., Rowling, K. and Graham, K. Eds 2008 Status of Fisheries Resources in NSW 2006/07, NSW. Department of Primary Industries, Cronulla, 334 pp.
Silberschneider, V. & Booth, D. J. 2001. Resource use by Enneapterygius rufopileus and other rockpool fishes. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 61:195-204
Tricklebank, K.A., Kingsford, M.J. and Rose, H.A. 2002. Organochlorine pesticides and hexachlorobenzene along the central coast of New South Wales: multi-scale distributions using the territorial damselfish Parma microlepis as an indicator. Environmental Pollution. 116: 319-335.
Tzioumis, V. and Kingsford, M.J. 1999. Reproductive biology and growth of the temperate damselfish Parma microlepis. Copeia. 1999: 348-361.
Underwood, A. J., Kingsford, M. J., and Andrew, N. L. 1991. Patterns. in shallow subtidal marine assemblages along the coast of New. South Wales. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology. 54:123-138
Upston, J., and Booth, D.J. 2002. Settlement and density of juvenile fish assemblages in natural, Zostera capricorni (Zosteraceae) and artificial seagrass beds. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 66:91-99.
Vincent, A.C.J., Evans, K.L., Marsden, A.D. 2005. Home range behaviour of the monogamous Australian seahorse, Hippocampus whitei. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 72: 1-12.
Warner, R.R., Chesson, P.L. 1985. Coexistence mediated by recruitment fluctuations - a field guide to the storage effect. American Naturalist 125: 769-787
Wressnig, A. and Booth, D.J. 2007. Selection of seagrass morphology by 2 species of sympatric leatherjacket fish I Sydney estuaries. Journal of Fish Biology 71:272-278.
York, P.H., Booth, D.J., Glasby, T.M., Pease, B.C. 2006. Fish assemblages in habitats dominated by Caulerpa taxifolia and native seagrasses in south-eastern Australia Marine Ecology Progress Series 312: 223-234.
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal