This often solitary fish has a remarkable manner of feeding. To obtain its diet of shrimps, worms, small crabs, periwinkles and other molluscs, the white steenbras blows a strong jet of water into the burrow in which the animal lives. This jet stream, created by the pumping action of the powerful gill covers forcing water through the narrow mouth, effectively blows the prey from its shelter (3). In extremely shallow water, the tail of the white steenbras is often seen poking through the water’s surface, as it works, snout down, to blast prey out of the sandy or muddy substrate (3).
Following a summer spent near the Western Cape, the white steenbras migrates to the eastern coasts of South Africa where it is known to spawn from June to August (2) (3). After the fertilisation and hatching of the eggs, the resulting juveniles enter estuaries. Here they will remain, certainly for the first year of their life, sometimes staying for over two years (2). The white steenbras is sexually mature at about six years of age, and around 65 centimetres in length, at which time it moves from the surf zone areas of beaches into deeper coastal waters (2).