Bluestriped Fangblenny (species: Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos) in ALA: Lizard Island (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos
Bluestriped Fangblenny

©Andy Lewis: An adult Bluestriped Fangblenny

©Andy Lewis: An adult Bluestriped Fangblenny amongst a school of Yellowtail Demoiselles

©Andy Lewis: A Bluestriped Fangblenny emerging from its shelter hole
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Blenniidae
Genus Plagiotremus
Species Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos



Distinguishing features

A small elongate fish with two neon blue stripes running along the body. The background colour is generally black around Lizard Island, but orange variants may be seen occasionally.


  • Up to 12 cm (Standard length)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Coral rich areas in lagoons and back reef habitats. The fish usually has a hole in the reef into which it retreats tail first if threatened.

Found in most reef habitats around the island not exposed to heavy wave action.


The Bluestriped Fangblenny is a solitary species which attacks other reef fishes to feed on the mucous, scales and skin tissue it removes with its sharp teeth. It is a facultative mimic of the juvenile Common Cleanerfish, with small fang blennies able to mimic the colour pattern of the juvenile wrasse if they are in close proximity, but they will adopt a different colour pattern if no wrasse are present. Mimicking the cleaner wrasse allows the Fangblenny to approach prey fishes more closely and seems to result in a higher attack success rate.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Leis, J.M. and B.M. Carson-Ewart (2000). Larvae of Indo-Pacific Coastal Fishes Brill, Leiden, pp. 1-850. LIRS catalog number 660.

Other references

  • Bshary, A. and R. Bshary (2012). Individual differences in foraging strategies of parasitic Sabre-Tooth Blennies. PLoS ONE, 7(9): e45998. LIRS catalog number 1554.
  • Côté, I.M. and K.L. Cheney (2007). Aggressive mimics profit from a model–signal receiver mutualism, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 274: 2087-2091. LIRS catalog number 1088.
  • View all references