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Other Fish Count Species

Banded Morwong
Bastard Trumpeter
Blue Throat Wrasse
Dusky Morwong
Eastern Blue Groper
Harlequin Fish
Herring Cale
Horseshoe Leatherjacket
Long Snouted Boarfish
Magpie Perch
Maori Wrasse
Old Wife
Ornate Cowfish
Red Morwong
Saddled Wrasse
Sea Sweep
Senator Wrasse
Shaw's Cowfish
Silver Sweep
Six-spined Leatherjacket
Victorian Scalyfin
Weedy Sea Dragon
Western Blue Devil
Western Blue Groper
Zebra Fish



Old Wife

Enoplosus armatus


The Old Wife is one of the easiest to recognise as it looks like a typical tropical angelfish. It has vertical black bands over a white background and several sets of fins on the top and bottom. They tend to travel in pairs or can form large schools (especially under piers). The dorsal fin spines of the Old Wife contain venom, which can cause severe pain. The Old Wife gained its rather derogatory name in reference to the sound it makes by grinding its teeth after being caught. This species grows to 25 cm.

Range: Qld, Noosa, NSW, Vic, North Tas, SA, to Kalbarri in WA.

Image © Mark Norman

Map interpretation: This maps show the average abundance of this species, as observed by participants in the Great Victorian Fish Count. Each dot represents a site that has been monitered by Reef Watch, and the colour of the dot shows the average abundance, as detailed in the legend. Tentative sightings occur when the Reef Watcher is not 100% confident of the identification, or where the sighting is outside the previously known distribution of the species. It would be great to confirm these sightings with a photograph or further observations.


  • Edgar, Graham. J. 1997. Australian Marine Life - the plants and animals of temperate waters (revised edition). New Holland : Sydney .
  • Gomon, Martin. F, Glover, J. C. M., & Kuiter, R. H. (eds) 1994. The Fishes of Australia 's South Coast . State Print: Adelaide .
  • Hutchins, Barry, & Swainston, Roger. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia - Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing and Gary Allen: Smithfield .
  • Kuiter, Rudie. H. 1993. The Complete Divers' & Fishermen's Guide to Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia . Crawford House Press: Bathurst .
  • Kuiter, Rudie. H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia - A comprehensive reference for divers & fishermen. New Holland : Sydney .