Behold the lovely colours of a fresh-caught Butterfly Gurnard, Lepidotrigla Vanessa. Lepidotrigla are an Australian representative of the Sea Robin family, whose members are all pretty ostentatious- although this little guy takes the cake!

What you can never see in pictures of this species is the amazing texture of their body. Their scales are like little cobblestones, raised and quite smooth as though the fish has had minute uniform pebbles pave’d down its flanks. Beneath the scales and skin one can feel the presence of light armour plating with much heavier plating in the head.

Said to grow to nearly 30cm, the individual pictured above is a more commonly encountered size. A dermersal species, they are often swept up in trawling operations. More than once I’ve received one in a box with other fish from the market!

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