5 reef fish you’ll find in South Australia

5 reef fish you’ll find in South Australia

It’s not just the Great Bar­ri­er Reef where you’ll find amaz­ing sea crea­tures. Here’s what’s in South Australia.

Marine life in South Aus­tralia is actu­al­ly more var­ied than the Great Bar­ri­er Reef and many species found here can’t be seen any­where else in the world.

In the waters around Ade­laide alone there are fish with strik­ing colours, unusu­al names that sound like evening wear, and oth­ers that grow old enough to be great-great-grandparents.

Here are five fish to look out for on your next under­wa­ter reef adventure:

1. Har­le­quin fish

This colour­ful fish has been spot­ted all the way from Encounter Bay in Adelaide’s south to the Great Aus­tralian Bight in the state’s west.

They can live for more than 40 years and grow to about 76 centimetres.

Har­le­quin fish have a spe­cial tac­tic for catch­ing their din­ner – hid­ing from it and wait­ing for it to pass by, then jump­ing out to attack it.

The har­le­quin fish has also been cred­it­ed with help­ing to cre­ate SA’s marine sanc­tu­ar­ies – so it’s a spe­cial fish.

5 reef fish you’ll find in South Australia

2. South­ern blue devil

This vibrant fish can grow to up to 35cm, has per­son­alised mark­ings, and can live up to 60 years.

They are a cave-dwelling fish, found along the south­ern Aus­tralian coastline.

You’re like­ly to find south­ern blue dev­il fish in Encounter Bay, part of Encounter Marine Park, as well as in the Aldin­ga Reef Sanc­tu­ary Zone.

5 reef fish you’ll find in South Australia

3. West­ern blue groper

West­ern blue grop­ers live up to 70 years old and can reach 160cm – but it takes them 15 years just to reach 60cm. They also change sex as they age.

The age of the fish can influ­ence where and how deep you can find them but gen­er­al­ly they can be found any­where from 1 metre to 80m under­wa­ter in caves or rocky reefs. 

5 reef fish you’ll find in South Australia

4. Band­ed morwong

If you thought 70 years old was old for a fish, then you’ll be sur­prised to dis­cov­er that the band­ed mor­wong can live to 95.

This fish can be found between south-east SA and the Great Aus­tralian Bight, and grows to a max­i­mum of 1m, but more often only 75cm.

The num­ber of stripes on the band­ed mor­wong is sur­pris­ing­ly spe­cif­ic – it’s either sev­en or eight. 

5 reef fish you’ll find in South Australia

5.Blue-tailed leather­jack­et

With a name that sounds like a piece of cloth­ing you pull out for a Sat­ur­day night on the town, it’s only fit­ting that the blue-tailed leather­jack­et looks so cool.

This fish is one of many dif­fer­ent leather­jack­ets that can be found in SA’s waters such as the brown-striped and the horseshoe.

You can spot this timid fish between 3m and 20m under­wa­ter. It grows to approx­i­mate­ly 42cm and will look dif­fer­ent depend­ing on its size, age and sex.

5 reef fish you’ll find in South Australia

Love reefs? South Aus­tralia has a new­ly recon­struct­ed shell­fish reef, known as Win­dara, locat­ed at Ardrossan. Also the con­struc­tion of anoth­er new shell­fish reef has been recent­ly announced for Adelaide’s met­ro­pol­i­tan coast­line.

There’s a good chance you’ll need to go div­ing to dis­cov­er these amaz­ing fish, so why not hook your­self up with atouror go snorkelling witha pro­fes­sion­al instruc­tor?And if you want to get the heads up on some of the quirki­er species you might see while you’re there, check out our blog:6 of SA’s weird-look­ing under­wa­ter crea­tures.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in Jan­u­ary 2017.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living