Anchor Tuskfish

Choerodon Anchorago
Anchor Tuskfish - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Choerodon Anchorago
Other names Orangedotted Tuskfish, Whitebelly Tuskfish
Size Up to 50 cm (19.6 in)
Weight Up to 1.5 kg (3.3 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, lagoons & inshore reefs amongst sand, rubble, coral & seagrass areas
Depth Range 1 - 25 m (3 - 82 ft)
Anchor Tuskfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Anchor Tuskfish can be found from the northern coast of Western Australia, around the Northern Territory, and down to the southern coast of Queensland.
  • They are most notably recognised by their two-tone body colour, the front half is dark grey or black, and the rear half is white or pale. They also have a distinguishing mark at the base of their tail, which resembles an anchor, hence their name.
  • Anchor Tuskfish are carnivores and feed primarily on invertebrates, including crustaceans and molluscs, which they dig out from the sandy seabed using their strong teeth.
  • Anchor Tuskfish are relatively solitary creatures. They are active during the day (diurnal), spending most of their time feeding and defending their territory.
  • Anchor Tuskfish exhibit a unique monogamous mating system, where each male maintains a territory and mates with a single female. During the spawning season, the female lays a large number of eggs that float freely in the water column. The male then fertilises these eggs. The eggs and subsequent larvae are planktonic, meaning they drift in the ocean currents until they reach a suitable habitat and metamorphose into juveniles
  • Estimated lifespan is between 10 – 12 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Snorkeling & Diving

Anchor Tuskfish are are occasionally targeted by recreational fishers as a catch and release fish as they are not know to be great eating. Observing them in the wild can be challenging, as they are not a schooling fish. However, their distinctive colouration also makes them easier to identify for snorkelers and divers that stumble into their territory on the reef.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Choerodon

Species: Choerodon Anchorago

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Anchor Tuskfish in Australia is listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, meaning that it is not currently considered to be at risk of extinction.

Fish Taste Quality

Anchor Tuskfish are not considered a great eating fish. They have a white, flaky flesh with a light, flavour that is not overly ‘fishy’.

Taste Rating: 2/5

How to catch
Anchor Tuskfish

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms

Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Popular

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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