Cromileptes altivelisPlum pudding cod(Also: Polka dot cod)

Geographic Range

The Barramundi Cod is generally found in the waters off the Northern Australian coast and as far as Western Australia. Although this fish is plentiful in these waters it is not limited to this area. The Barramundi Cod is also known to inhabit the waters of the Western Pacific, from Southern Japan to Palau and has also been seen in the Eastern Indian Ocean, from the Nicobars to Broome (Froese and Pauly 2000 ).


Barramundi Cod are most frequently found in dead or silty reef areas to a depth of 40 m. They inhabit lagoons and seaward reefs and are not uncommon around coral reefs and in tide pools. The younger fish live in shallow water and are occasionally seen in rock pools at low tide (Froese and Pauly 2000).

  • Aquatic Biomes
  • reef

Physical Description

The Barramundi Cod is a very distinctive looking fish. The profile of its head is and it has scattered black spots on its body and fins. The Barramundi Cod can grow up to 70 cm in length. It is usually either fawn, reddish-brown, or terra-cotta colored. Its most notable feature is that its body is completely covered with round black spots. The largest spots are found on the fish's back and are usually smaller than the eye. On the younger fish the spots are larger but less numerous (Australia Museum 2000; Marshall 1964).


Barramundi Cod reproduce by means of protogyny, which means there is sequential hermaphroditism in which an individual transforms from female to male. The eggs are scattered in open water and are fertilized externally. Once the eggs are fertilized they are left unguarded. (Froese and Pauly, 2000).


The Barramundi Cod has a curious personality. It fears what is not familiar to it. When something unfamiliar approaches them, they usually swim away but do not swim very far. They swim very differently from other fishes; they move very slowly with many

odd turns and sometimes it seems as if they are trying to swim upside down (Martinsson 1997).

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Barramundi Cod are known to eat nekton, organisms that can swim against currents. For example, they prefer eating finfishes, squid, cuttle fish, and bony fish (Froese and Pauly, 2000).

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The only economic gain that humans receive from Barramundi Cod comes from catching and selling juveniles for aquarium displays and selling the adults as a source of food (Froese and Pauly 2000).

Conservation Status

Barramundi Cod are not threatened or endangered at this time. This species is not on the IUCN (The World Conservation Union) Red List, so there is no current need for conservation. The only problem is that they are the most prized and highly priced of all groupers in Chinese restaurants. As a result of this, there is a chance that in the future this fish might become endangered due to over-fishing (Froese and Pauly 2000).


Diana Zepeda (author), University of California, Irvine, Rudi Berkelhamer (editor), University of California, Irvine.



Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


specialized for swimming

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


structure produced by the calcium carbonate skeletons of coral polyps (Class Anthozoa). Coral reefs are found in warm, shallow oceans with low nutrient availability. They form the basis for rich communities of other invertebrates, plants, fish, and protists. The polyps live only on the reef surface. Because they depend on symbiotic photosynthetic algae, zooxanthellae, they cannot live where light does not penetrate.


uses touch to communicate


2000. "Australian Museum Ichthyology Website" (On-line). Accessed Oct. 2000 at

Froese, R., D. Pauly. 2000. "Fish Base" (On-line). Accessed Oct. 2000 at

Marshall, T. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef. Sydney: Halstead Press.

Martinsson, 1997. "Spearing on Northwest Island" (On-line). Accessed Oct. 2000 at

Roughley, T. 1966. Fish and Fisheries of Australia. Sydney: Halstead Press.