Old Wife

Old Wife in an aquarium. [Photographed by Thomas Rowland]
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Scientific Name: Enoplosus armatus

Size: Total Length 25 cm

What does it look like?

Old Wife adults are predominantly silver with 6 to 8 bold black zebra-like stripes, and two elongated sections of dorsal fin. Young are blotched darker, and have a white edged spot on a single dorsal fin.

Where is it found?

Common in coastal and deeper waters of southern Australia, from southern Qld in east to around Geraldton WA in west.

What are its habitats & habits?

The Old Wife, or Bastard Dory, is found in still or slow moving waters of bays and protected areas of offshore reefs, where it feeds individually, in pairs or in shoals on plankton and small crustaceans. Young tend to occupy patches of weed on reefs or within estuaries.

Interesting facts

Dorsal fins of adults have venomous spines which can inflict a painful sting if handled incorrectly.

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A Naturalist's Guide to the Dangerous Creatures of Australia front cover

This species features in my book A Naturalist’s Guide to the Dangerous Creatures of Australia

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