Yellow Crested Weedfish

Cristiceps Aurantiacus
Yellow Crested Weedfish - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Cristiceps Aurantiacus
Other names Crested Weedfish, Golden Weedfish
Size Up to 22 cm (8.66 in)
Weight Up to .20 kg (.44 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, rock pools, tidal areas & bays rich with algae, weeds & kelp beds
Depth Range 2 - 20 m (65 ft)
Yellow Crested Weedfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Yellow Crested Weedfish is a endemic species, native to the coastal waters of Australia and can be found along most southern coasts. Including Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and up through New South Wales.
  • They are a small, colourful fish with a slender body and a distinctive yellow crest on its head, which extends back along the dorsal fin. Their body can be adorned with intricate patterns and hues.
  • These weedfish are carnivorous and primarily feed on small crustaceans, zooplankton, and other tiny marine invertebrates. They use their excellent camouflage to blend with their surroundings while stalking and ambushing prey.
  • The Yellow Crested Weedfish has evolved a remarkable camouflage mechanism that aids in their survival. They have the ability to change their body colour and pattern to match their environment, making them nearly invisible among the surrounding algae and seagrass.
  • While not highly social, they are not entirely solitary either. These weedfish can be found living in loose groups, occasionally seen interacting with other members of their species.
  • Breeding among Yellow Crested Weedfish occurs during the spring and summer months, usually starting from October to February. During this period, male weedfish actively court females by performing elaborate courtship displays. They lay adhesive eggs in hidden crevices or amongst seagrass where they are protected from predators.
  • Natural predators of the Yellow Crested Weedfish include larger fish species, such as wrasses and predatory sharks, which can spot them despite their camouflage.
  • Their estimated average lifespan is between 2 – 3 years.
Species Interaction

Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving

For snorkelers and divers, observing Yellow Crested Weedfish in the wild can be a rewarding experience. Their expert camouflage and shy nature might require patience to spot them, but once sighted, their vibrant colours and unique crests make for a memorable encounter. This can also make them popular for aquariums, however their specialised care requires established tanks and expertise.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Clinidae

Genus: Cristiceps

Species: Cristiceps Aurantiacus

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Yellow Crested Weedfish in Australia is currently categorised as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This classification implies that the species is not currently facing significant threats to its survival and populations are relatively stable.

Yellow Crested Weedfish
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate to difficult

Temperament: Shy

Diet: Carnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Inner Reef, Lagoon, Seagrass Beds

Danger: None

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