Maxillicosta scabriceps

Little gurnard perch | Little Scorpionfish
Maxillicosta scabriceps
Maxillicosta scabriceps, Doubtful Islands, Western Australia, Photo: Graham Edgar


Temperate Australasia


Pale body with mottled brown and red markings, long initial dorsal spines deeply incised. Hides, buried under sand during day, occasionally seen by divers at night. A similar species–Maxillicosta whitleyi–occurs in the southeast in clean sand habitats. That species can be distinguished by 8-13 spines on the ridge above the eye, compared with 4-9 for M. scabriceps.


Max Size: 12 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 12.4-28.1°C

Depth: 2-40m

Habitat Generalization Index: N/A

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Not Evaluated

Occurrence: Rare (0.9% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Solitary (1 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: GJ Edgar. 2008. Australian Marine Life. New Holland, Sydney