Piano Fangblenny (species: Plagiotremus tapeinosoma) in ALA: LIRS and surrounds using records to Oct. 2021 (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Plagiotremus tapeinosoma
Piano Fangblenny

©Victor Huertas: Plagiotremus tapeinosoma at Vicki's Reef, Lizard Island.

©Andy Lewis: An adult Piano Fangblenny

©Andy Lewis: An adult Piano Fangblenny
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Blenniidae
Genus Plagiotremus
Species Plagiotremus tapeinosoma



Distinguishing features

A small elongate fish with a white belly and a dark stripe running the length of the body, with a series of regular blotches through the mid-section.


  • Up to 14 cm (Standard length)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Coral rich areas in lagoons and back reef habitats, and reef fronts outside the surge zone. 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.


The Piano 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. Unlike its congeneric the Bluestriped Fangblenny, it does not appear to mimic the Common Cleanerfish. Rather, the Piano Fangblenny relies on a rapid rush to attack unsuspecting fishes.

Web resources


  • 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.
  • Côté, I.M. and K.L. Cheney (2007). A protective function for aggressive mimicry? Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 274: 2445-2448. LIRS catalog number 90029.
  • View all references