The Yellowtail trumpeter, Amniataba caudavittata, (also known as the Flagtailed terapon, Yellowtail grunter and Yellow-tailed perch) is a common species of coastal marine fish of the grunter family; Terapontidae. The Yellowtail trumpeter is endemic to Australia and Papua New Guinea, ranging from Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia along the north coast of Australia to Bowen, Queensland and north along the coast of southern Papua New Guinea. The species is distinguishable by its colouring patterns, as well as anatomical features such as spine and gill counts.
The species commonly inhabits estuaries during the warmer months of the year, moving offshore in winter to avoid the influx of fresh water from swollen rivers. The species breeds in the upper reaches of estuaries, with an average of 310,000 eggs produced per individual in a season. The Yellowtail trumpeter is a benthic omnivore, preying on algae, crustaceans and polychaetes predominantly and shows a change in diet with age.
The species is often taken by with handlines, seines, and other inshore fishing gear but is considered to be a relatively poor table fish. The Yellowtail trumpeter is of no relation to the true trumpeters of the family Latridae.
The species was first described by Richardson in 1844 as Terapon caudavittatus, before he subsequently republished the species under the names Datnia caudavittata, Amphitherapon caudavittatus and the currently accepted binomial name of Amniataba caudavittata. The reasons for all the synonyms are not clear, either Richardson didn't know he was redescribing the same species, or he changed his mind as to which genera the species belonged in. Castelnau redescribed it once again as Therapon bostockii in 1873. All names except Amniataba caudavittata are invalid under the ICZN rules.
The species has a number of common names, with the name Yellowtail trumpeter the common in usage, even though the species has no relation to the 'true' trumpeters of the family Latridae. Other names include Yellowtail grunter, Yellow-tailed perch and the name used by the FAO; Flagtailed terapon.
The colour of the upper portions of the body is grey, with only light pigmentation on the lower part of the body. The upper half of body has a number of dispersed spots somewhat smaller than the pupil, while some individuals have 5 or 6 incomplete vertical bars extending from the dorsal fin surface of body, down to the level of the pectoral fins. The fins are generally yellow in colour, with a variety of dusting and blotching. The spinous dorsal fin has irregular spotting and a faint duskiness distally, but does not exhibit a distinct patch of dark pigmentation. The soft dorsal fin is dusky at the base while the spinous portion of anal fin is also slightly dusky. The caudal fin is also spotted basally, with a highly distinct, black blotch extending obliquely across each lobe.
The species is known to tolerate a very wide range of salinites, from fresh river waters to hypersaline waters found in some areas of Shark Bay and everything in between. Yellowtail trumpeter often inhabit estuarine waters along the Western Australian coast, as well as sand and seagrass beds in inshore and offshore waters of the continental shelf.
The mature, unfertilised eggs of the Yellowtail trumpeter are small and spherical, having an average diameter of 560 μm. The larva are pelagic and characterized by an elongate body, which becomes moderately deep and laterally compressed during development. The species grows seasonally, with growth only occurring in the warmer months of the year. Yellowtail trumpeter live for at least 3 years.