Tiger Flathead

Neoplatycephalus richardsoni (Tiger Flathead)
Neoplatycephalus aurimaculatus (Toothy Flathead)

Other names: Deep sea flathead, flathead, king flathead, spiky flathead, trawl flathead.

Family: Platycephalidae (flatheads)


These appropriately named bottom-dwelling marine fish have flat-triangular shaped heads and long tapering bodies. Two closely-related species are marketed as tiger flathead: the ‘true’ tiger flathead, which is covered in orange-red spots and the toothy flathead, which is covered in golden spots. Wild-caught, they are found mainly on the mid-continental shelf and upper slope in depths of 10-200m (sometimes as deep as 400m) and are caught off the south-eastern coast, including around Tasmania by trawling and Danish seine nets. They are endemic to Australia. ‘True’ tiger flathead are more common than toothy flathead, and are found further offshore and also mid-water as they have a swim bladder which toothy flathead lack.

Season: Available year round with peaks in NSW and Vic from July to September.

Size and Weight: Commonly 400g-1.3kg and 35-55cm, but can grow to 3kg and 70cm.

Price: Medium priced.


Bartail, bluespotted, deepwater, dusky, longspine, northern sand, rock, southern bluespotted, southern sand, and other flatheads.

To Buy:

Sold whole (gilled and gutted) and in fillet form. In whole fish look for lustrous skin with a slippery, mucilaginous coating, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell. In fillets, look for pinkish to yellowish-white, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.

To Store:

Make sure whole fish is scaled, gilled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Lay whole fish and fillets in a single layer on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze whole fish for up to 6 months, and fillets for up to 3 months, below -18ºC.

To Cook:

Average yield is 30%. Has a slightly sweet flavour, low oiliness and slightly dry, medium textured flesh with fine flakes. Their unusual shape means that there are relatively few bones, mostly towards the head section of the fillet, which are easily removed. The bones make good stock. Cut thick fillets into serving-size portions to allow even heat penetration.

Cooking Methods:

Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, bake, grill, barbecue. It is best wrapped in foil or banana leaves if baking or barbecuing, to prevent it drying out. It is an excellent fish battered for fish and chips.

Goes well with:

Beer batter, beetroot, cauliflower, capers, cornichons, dill, garlic, horseradish, lemon, lettuce, lime, mayonnaise, onions, tartare sauce, tomato, white wine vinegar, yoghurt.


Other flathead, bream, hussar, morwong, redfish, tarwhine, whiting.




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