Alex Suslin always has an eye for unusual marine life sightings. This time, he found this unusual flathead on the Glenelg Tyre Reef on Thursday 9th November: –


He was able to take a couple of photos of the flathead: –


Alex sent the two photos in to our Society for identification: –

“Hi Steve, any chance you know this critter, encountered on the Glenelg Tyre Reef last Thursday?  Closest pic I could find is Mud flathead but that’s meant to range from Qld to Botany Bay. It buried itself in the sand & wasn’t keen on moving away. Cheers, Alex.”

David Muirhead responded on our behalf: –

“Definitely rock flathead juvenile . . . SA’s smallest flathead species and very cryptic and as flatheads go very attractive. Probably commoner than seems…due preference for rock reef habitat or adjacent to, e.g. in sandy, rubbly, weedy depressions and narrow channels between outcrops of rocky reef.

I have only seen a few that I was sure of in my SA diving life, but I love them very much. Almost have anglerfish lures on first dorsal rays. Cheers, Dave M.”

 We let Alex know David’s thoughts. His response was: –

“Thanks, Steve & David, just lifted up an anchor I’d found & this was underneath. Initially thought I’d squashed it, as it didn’t move. When I started to fan the sand away for a closer look, it started burying itself – no wonder they’re not seen often. Very attractive & delicate. Cheers, Alex.”

 Well done, Alex.

David Muirhead took this photo of a Rock Flathead at Carrickalinga  in 2013: –

A Rock Flathead at Carrickalinga South Beach reef

(Taken by David Muirhead)

By Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

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