You can download the free AQWA app ‘follow sweep’ for your device and go on an interactive epic ocean adventure! Use the app to choose your journey at AQWA and see where you and sweep end up !

A team player

The footballer sweep is named for its bold striped pattern that looks like a football player’s jersey. These inquisitive fish are known to zoom over reefs in teams using their ‘safety in numbers’ to search for food, explore caves or follow divers! The Latin name ‘Neatypus’ means ‘new shape’ and refers to their unusual form, as their dorsal fin stretches the whole length of their upper body, rather than being clearly separated. The ‘obliquus’ part of their name means ‘slanting’ and describes their diagonal stripes.

Chubby Aussies

Footballer sweeps are only found in Australia! They inhabit rocky reefs from Flinders Island in SA to Shark Bay in WA. They were only discovered in 1905, despite being part of a family of fish that has existed for 55 million years! This family (Kyphosidae) of thin, oval shaped fish are known as ‘sea chubs’. The footballer sweep is 1 of 4 chubs along with the stripey, moonlighter and mado, that belong to the ‘small thorn’ subfamily. Named for their thorn-like teeth that they use to filter feed, these sea chubs are completely covered in stripes.

Stealthy stripes

Having stripes all over the body breaks up a fish’s outline. This is called ‘confusion camouflage’. It makes it hard for a predator to know where one fish ends and the next begins, and also which is the front or back of the fish. This makes it more difficult for a predator to predict where the fish might move next.

Built for city living

Footballer sweeps are found in reefs; these underwater cities are packed with caves, crevices and swim-throughs. The footballer’s thin body and large, rounded fins allow it to quickly change direction and its angle to slip into these small spaces.


Watch footballer sweeps zooming through the Perth coast, or follow sweep with the app!