Longfin Batfish (species: Platax pinnatus) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Platax pinnatus
Longfin Batfish

©Rick Stuart-Smith: Platax pinnatus, Lizard Island area.

©Lyle Vail: A large juvenile Platax pinnatus at North Point, Lizard Island.

©Anne Hoggett: Juvenile Platax pinnatus in a shallow cavern on the reef slope at Pidgin Point, Lizard Island (6 Feb 2016), about 6-8 cm long and 15-20 cm tall.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Ephippidae
Genus Platax
Species Platax pinnatus



Distinguishing features

A medium to large sized silver fish with vertical black stripes through the eye and behind the operculum. The dorsal and anal fins are highly elongated, especially in juveniles and young adults, and the tail is yellowish. The snout protrudes slightly so the head profile is concave. Small juveniles are black with a bright orange margin around the body. They mimic toxic flatworms and swim with a distinct undulating motion.


  • Up to 45 cm (Standard length)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Areas of coral reef with caves and holes for shelter, generally in lagoonal areas with low current.

Found in most reef habitats around the island.

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island: This is the batfish species seen most commonly at Lizard Island.


The Longfin Batfish is usually seen in small groups of 2 or 3 resting in caves or overhangs during the day. Their usual diet consists of macroalgae, zooplankton and benthic invertebrates.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen and R.C. Steene (1990). Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Other references

  • Bellwood, D.R., T.P. Hughes and A.S. Hoey (2006). Sleeping functional group drives coral-reef recovery, Current Biology, 16: 2434-2439. LIRS catalog number 90049.
  • Bray, R.A., T.H. Cribb and J.-L. Justine (2010). Multitestis Manter 1931 (Digenea: Lepocreadiidae) in ephippid and chaetodontid fishes (Perciformes) in the south-western Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean off Western Australia. Zootaxa, 2427: 36-46. LIRS catalog number 1404.
  • View all references