The Harlequin fish is endemic to Australia, it is only found in the waters of southern Australia, extending from the central coast of Victoria to south-western Australia. Harlequin fish inhabit exposed coastal rocky reefs and reef drop offs to 30 metres in depth. They grow to a length of 75 cm and can weigh in excess of 3 kg. Harlequin fish feed on numerous species of small fish as well as abalone.
Fact: Harlequin Fish are in the same family (Serranidae) as groupers!
Harlequin fish are brightly coloured with stunning pattens. Their background colours can be red, orange, yellow or brown with blue spots on their sides and head.
Unfortunately these striking fish are a prized ‘trophy fish’ for fishing competitions and presently there are no restrictions on size, bag or boat limits for this species. This is thought to be one of many factors resulting in the decline of the population. Inhabiting coastal reefs also makes the Harlequin fish susceptible to habitat degradation from land based pollution including sediment run off causing siltation of the reef.