Very special thanks for the first photo of Neopataecus waterhousii to the famous Rudie H. Kuiter, Australia.
Endemic to temperate waters from about Inverloch, Victoria, and King Island, Tasmania, to Spencer Gulf, South Australia, and from Albany to the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia, at depths of 0-40 m. Although there are no verifoed records, the species may also occur in the Great Australian Bight.
The Whiskered Prowfish is extremely well-camouflaged and highly variable in colour. Individuals may be greyish to brownish with a network of fine reddish lines or pinkish blotches to resemble encrusting algae. Others are orange to a deep red with whitish blotches and resemble encrusting sponges.
Although little is known of this rare, well-camouflaged species, it usually inhabits sheltered reefs among sponges and macroalgae. Individuals have also been occasionally seen amongst floating seaweeds.