Fun Bartail Flathead Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Bartail Flathead Facts For Kids

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The bartail flathead is a marine flathead species of the genus Platycephalus. These fishes are native to the Red Sea and East Africa to the Philippines, from Japan and Korea in the north to northern Australia in the south. It is situated in the Indo-West Pacific. A new species was introduced to the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It has a length of 31.5 in (80 cm). It is endemic to the sandy and muddy bottoms, and juveniles have even been taken in freshwater. Tidal estuaries and mudflats, seagrasses, sand, and mud are all habitats for these fish. This fish has a flat and smooth head. Their mouths are large and have unusually large protruding pair of eyes. It even has yellow spots on the tail. It has well-developed ray fins, between 11-17 dorsal spines and 11-25 pectoral fins. Bar-tailed flatheads are generally found offshore, as opposed to dusky flatheads, which are more commonly found along coastal sandflats. A flathead's lifespan is estimated to be between 15 - 20 years. The lifespan of females is longer than that of males. The food of bartail flatheads includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, and shrimp hatcheries. Fish, crustaceans, and benthic algae are their main sources of nutrition. It is a delicious dish due to the edible bartail flathead cooking. When prepared correctly, this species has a wonderful taste. It is listed as Data Deficient for the conservation status of the bartail flathead (Platycephalus indicus). 

If you enjoy reading about the bartail flathead, do check out interesting facts about the catfish and the tilefish.

Fun Bartail Flathead Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Spawns and small baitfish

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

2,000 and 15,000 eggs

How much do they weigh?

6.2 lb (2.8 kg)

How long are they?

31.5 in (80 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown, gray

Skin Type

Wet, slimy scales

What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Data Deficient

Where you'll find them?

Muddy And Sandy Coastal Water


Indian And Pacific Ocean









Bartail Flathead Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a bartail flathead?

A bartail flathead (Platycephalus indicus) is a flattened marine fish of the family Platycephalidae.

What class of animal does the bartail flathead belong to?

A bartail flathead (Platycephalus indicus) is a type of freshwater fish from Australia of genus Platycephalus. It is also known as bar-tailed flathead, Indian flathead, Indo-Pacific flathead. There are 40 different species of bartail flathead known around the world. Most of them have a flat and smooth heads.

How many bartail flatheads are there in the world?

The exact population estimate of the bartail flathead (Platycephalus indicus) of Australia is unknown, but the number doubles every 1.4 - 4.4 years.

Where does the bartail flathead live?

It is found in the Indo-West Pacific ranging from the Red Sea and East Africa to the Philippines, north to southern Japan and Korea, south to northern Australia. Introduced into the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

What is a bartail flathead habitat?

In coastal waters, including estuaries and sandbars, this fish often lives on sandy and muddy bottoms, and juveniles have even been taken in freshwater. These marine fishes live in sand, mud, gravel, and seagrasses, as well as tidal estuaries. As the name implies, the bar-tailed flathead is generally found more offshore than the dusky flathead, commonly found on coastal sandflats. However, the bar-tailed flathead occurs in a number of estuarine environments, such as the Swan-Canning River System in Perth.

Who does the bartail flathead live with?

These marine fishes live solitarily, which means they live alone and only come together for mating and reproduction.

How long does a bartail flathead live?

The lifespan of this fish is estimated to be up to 15-20 years. Females are observed to live longer than males. 

How do they reproduce?

This fish is an oviparous species, meaning both males and females release eggs and sperms into the water. In the water, the females bartail flathead released between 2,000 and 15,000 eggs. Water animals cannot eat the eggs after fertilization because the eggs float on the surface. It takes just two to three days for the eggs to hatch, and they remain in the water until they are large enough to swim in deep depth in the water. A female bartail flathead reaches sexual maturity at about the age of 3 - 4 years, while a male bartail flathead matures after two to three years.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Platycephalus indicus fish is listed as Data Deficient. There isn't much information available on the population status. Some things affect the lives and habitat of bartail flatheads but cannot say how many there are global. With tourism increasing, human activities such as water pollution can harm the bartail flathead's ideal habitat, destroying many fish species that the flathead preys upon. The effects of climate change are significantly affecting and destroying coral reefs important to flathead bartail.

Bartail Flathead Fun Facts

What does the bartail flathead look like?

Flathead fish of the bartail species measures 3.1-4.7 in (8-12 cm) long. It can grow to be 19.7-39.4 in (50-100 cm) in length. They have a description of a flat and smooth heads. Unlike Indian flathead, who doesn't have a flat head. Their mouths are large, and their lower jaws are longer than their upper jaws. An unusually large, protruding pair of eyes. An eyelid with an intricate pattern of laplets has a keyhole shape over the eye. No fringe features are present near the eyes. The tail tapers towards the end of the tube-shaped body. It has well-developed ray fins, between 11-17 dorsal spines and 11-25 pectoral fins. Its tail is marked with colorful bar features consisting of three to five black bars on light blue or white with a yellow spot in the middle. Body color matches surroundings, with several small spots, as well as one or two dark bars across the body, with a pair of white blotches near the tail. Several spikes containing venom are located on the dorsal, pelvic, anal, and pectoral fins, which help animals capture and injure prey. The venom may not be fatal, but it can cause infection and pain for a maximum of two days. A gland located in the flathead fish's belly is believed to reduce the pain of its sting. This belief stems from anglers who rub slime on the wound caused by a flathead. An elongated pectoral fin and separated dorsal spines are among the traits of a lionfish with curved or cycloidal scales on its body. Their bodies are covered with white bands or patterns. Their vibrant reds and maroons are attractive. These venomous tentacles paralyze their prey by spreading over their eyes and below their mouth. It is quite similar to the scorpion fish.

Bartail Flathead

How cute are they?

No, they are not cute in any way.

How do they communicate?

Similarly, like most animals, this fish uses intraspecific communication, meaning they communicate with their species. The bartail flathead can communicate through motion and noises, using the muscles to vibrate against the swim bladder, an internal organ that helps the fish maintain buoyancy.

Communication between bartail flathead is a beautiful process. Both males and females swim around each other until the female releases the eggs if she is impressed by the male.

When the predator approaches, both juveniles quickly emerge from the sand, escaping primarily by swimming close to the bottom (benthic swimming) instead of swimming off the bottom (off-bottom swimming). The flounder is virtually undetectable visually when close to the bottom, which may allow juveniles to escape from diurnal visual feeders during the day. 

The tasseled curtain covering their eyes helps to conceal them from predators. The intensity of light affects the expansion and contraction of tassels.

How big is the bartail flathead?

The bartail flathead size is 31.5 in (80 cm).

How fast can a bartail flathead swim?

A wild fish's average escape swimming speed is 9.3 lengths per second, and its hatchery-reared speed is 9.8 lengths per second. This is similar to the maximum speed of many fish species. A decrease in the distance between juvenile flounders and predators caused flounders to flee faster and to swim faster.

How much does a bartail flathead weigh?

The bartail flathead (Platycephalus indicus) weighs almost 6.2 lb (2.8 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for different sexes of bartail flatheads. They are simply referred to as the female bartail flathead and the male bartail flathead.

What would you call a baby bartail flathead?

The baby bartail flathead is called a young/juvenile bartail flathead.

What do they eat?

The bartail flathead food includes crabs, spawns, lobsters, shrimps, and small baitfish. They feed on benthic algae, crustaceans, and fish.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, this fish can be dangerous at times. There are two short spikes containing venom dorsal, pelvic, anal, and pectoral fins, helping them capture the prey with their sting to leave it unconscious. Despite not being fatal, the venom can cause pain and infection for no longer than two days. Some anglers believe that rubbing the slime on the inflicted wound caused by the flathead fish will reduce the pain of the fish's sting due to a gland in its belly.

Would they make a good pet?

In general, it is not recommended to pet venomous bartail flatheads since their sting is deadly. Such peets are loved by some aquarists. Life-size aquariums with artificial coral reefs, rocks, and hiding places provide an ideal habitat for bartail flathead fish. A variety of crustaceans can be offered to them, including prawns, squid, and others. Aquariums with small fish can be harmful to other fish. 

Did you know...

Throughout the year, fishermen catch flathead using many different baits and lures, but the summer is when they are most commonly caught. There are many flathead species, but only a few are regularly caught by fishermen. It is more acceptable to eat such fish that live at higher latitudes.

The flathead catfish is the biggest catfish to be caught to date.

One of the most exciting facts about the bartail flathead is that their growth rate decreases after sexual maturation. Male bartail flathead has a slower growth rate than female bartail flat head. This fish has a camouflage description. Since they are at the waterbed, bartail flatheads are covered with algae which adds to their camouflage. These fishes occasionally shed skin to get rid of debris and dirt.

Are bartail flatheads good to eat?

Bartail flathead edible cooking makes it a delicious dish. The flavor of this species is absolutely fantastic if it is prepared properly. When it comes to sustainability, eating flathead can help reduce the demand for other fish that may be experiencing a decline in numbers. In countries such as Australia, flatheads are also prized in fishing markets overseas. They are exclusively fished for by Chinese fishermen. The bartail flathead recipe comes s many varieties like sashimi, ceviche, carpaccio, saute, simmered, broiled with salt, miso soup, hot pot, deep fried, tempura. It is quite famous in Chinese restaurants and cuisines.

How many species of flathead are there?

Australia is home to more than 40 different species of flathead fish. Some are namely dusky, sand, blue-spotted, tiger, and rock flathead.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these paddlefish and rockfish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bartail flathead coloring pages.

Second image by Judgefloro.

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