Trumpeter Whiting

Sillago Maculata
Trumpeter Whiting - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Sillago Maculata
Other names Diver Whiting, Eastern Winter Whiting, Spotted Whiting, Trumpeter Sillago, Western Winter Whiting, Winter Whiting
Size Up to 30 cm (11.8 in)
Weight Up to .50 kg (1.1 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, estuaries, bays & mangroves amongst silty & sandy areas
Depth Range 1 - 20 m (66 ft)
Trumpeter Whiting Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Trumpeter Whiting have a distribution which spans across many Australian states, including Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania. They are commonly encountered in estuarine systems and coastal areas within these regions.
  • They are characterised by their slender and elongated body shape, with a slightly compressed profile. They have a silvery coloration with a series of small black spots along their sides, which become more pronounced towards the tail.
  • Trumpeter Whiting are primarily found in shallow coastal waters, usually inhabiting sandy or muddy substrates near estuaries, bays, and surf beaches. They can also be found in brackish waters and sometimes venture into freshwater areas.
  • They are known to form schools, especially during the breeding season. These schools can consist of both males and females, and they often congregate in shallow areas near the shore.
  • The diet of Trumpeter Whiting consists mainly of small crustaceans, such as amphipods, small crabs, and shrimp, as well as polychaete worms and other benthic invertebrates. They use their protractile mouths to feed by sucking up prey items from the substrate.
  • Trumpeter Whiting have a unique way of avoiding predation. When threatened or pursued by predators, they can rapidly bury themselves in the sand or mud, using their strong tails to create a quick and efficient escape.
  • Breeding season for Trumpeter Whiting typically occurs during the warmer months, from spring to early summer (September to December), when water temperatures are more favourable for spawning.
  • The reproductive strategy of Trumpeter Whiting involves external fertilisation, where females release their eggs into the water and males simultaneously release sperm to fertilise them. The fertilised eggs then develop into larvae that drift in the water column before eventually settling to the seabed.
  • Their estimated average lifespan is between 5 – 7 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Snorkeling & Diving

Trumpeter Whiting are a popular target for recreational fishing due to their abundance, availability, and good eating qualities. They are often sought after by anglers using light tackle and bait such as beach worms or small pieces of shrimp. In the wild, they can be observed by snorkelers and divers, they exhibit interesting behaviours such as pursuit feeding, where they probe the sand or mud to hunt for prey. Watching their feeding techniques and schooling behaviour can be captivating.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Sillaginidae

Genus: Sillago

Species: Sillago Maculata

Conservation Status

In terms of conservation status, the Trumpeter Whiting is not listed as a threatened species in Australia. However, it is still important to manage their populations sustainably to ensure their long-term survival.

Fish Taste Quality

Trumpeter Whiting are highly regarded as a good table fish due to their firm, white flesh and delicate flavour. They have a mild and sweet taste that is often compared to other popular white-fleshed fish species.

Taste Rating: 4/5

How to catch
Trumpeter Whiting

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Patternoster Rig, Running Sinker Rig, Artificial Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Lures, Pilchards, Prawns, Shellfish, Squid, Worms, Yabbies, Soft plastics

Technique: Keep bait on the bottom, Cast bait/jig/lure near schooling fish

Popularity: Highly targeted

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Lagoon, Seagrass Beds, Sandflats

Danger: None