Deceitful Velvetfish

Peristrominous Dolosus
Deceitful Velvetfish - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Peristrominous Dolosus
Family Velvetfish / Aploactinidae
Size Up to 8 cm (3.14 in)
Weight A few grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst sandy, silty & muddy soft bottom areas
Depth Range 1 - 20 m (66 ft)
Deceitful Velvetfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Deceitful Velvetfish is native to the coastal waters of Australia. They can be found along the western, northern and eastern coasts, ranging from Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and Queensland.
  • They are a small, elongated fish with a flattened body. They have a velvety texture, covered in small, fine, hair-like spines, giving them a unique appearance. The colours of their bodies can vary, but they are often mottled in shades of brown, grey, and black, helping them camouflage in their habitat.
  • The Deceitful Velvetfish is a carnivorous species, primarily feeding on small crustaceans, molluscs, and other small marine invertebrates. They use their specialized mouth and teeth to capture and consume their prey.
  • They have a velvety texture that not only aids in camouflage but also acts as a defence mechanism. They have venomous spines along their dorsal fin that they can raise when threatened, potentially causing pain and discomfort to predators or human handlers.
  • These fish are generally solitary in nature and do not form large schools. They are territorial and prefer to stake out their own space on the reef or seabed.
  • The species name “Deceitful” comes from their remarkable ability to mimic other toxic or venomous fish species to deter potential predators. This mimicry serves as an effective defence mechanism.
  • The breeding season of the Deceitful Velvetfish usually occurs during the warmer months, from late spring to early autumn in Australia. During this time, the fish gather in shallow coastal areas to spawn. Females release their eggs, and males fertilize them externally.
  • They has a relatively short lifespan, typically ranging from 1 to 2 years in the wild.
Species Interaction

Snorkeling & Diving

Observing the Deceitful Velvetfish in the wild can be a thrilling experience for snorkelers and divers. Due to their preference for shallow waters, they are easily accessible for snorkeling activities, especially in rocky reef areas. Divers can enjoy getting up close to these small, camouflaged fish and witnessing their intricate patterns.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Scorpaeniformes

Family: Scorpaenidae

Genus: Peristrominous

Species: Peristrominous Dolosus

Conservation Status

The Deceitful Velvetfish is listed as a species of “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In Australia, they are not considered endangered or threatened, and their populations are relatively stable.

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Shy

Location: Inner Reef, Caves, Lagoon, Seagrass Beds

Danger: Venomous Spines

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