Animal Species:Yellowtail Fang Blenny, Meiacanthus atrodorsalis (Gunther, 1877)

The Yellowtail Fang Blenny is a distintively coloured fish that has an enormous curved, venomous fang on either side of the lower jaw.

A Yellowtail Fang Blenny at Captains table

Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Yellowtail Fang Blenny

Identification

The Yellowtail Fang Blenny is blue anteriorly and yellow posteriorly. There is a diagonal black stripe through the eye.

The species has a lunate caudal fin and an enormous curved, venomous fang on each side of the lower jar. The fangs, which are used for defence, are characteristic of the genus Meiacanthus.

Size range

It grows to 11 cm in length.

Similar Species

The Yellowtail Fang Blenny is mimicked by the Bicolor Blenny, Ecsenius bicolor and the Bicolor Fangblenny, Plagiotremus laudandus.

Distribution

The species occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific, from the Red Sea, north to Japan, throughout Micronesia, south to Australia and east to Marquesas Islands.

In Australia the Yellowtail Fang Blenny is known from the north-western coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country and south to the southern coast of New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Meiacanthus atrodorsalis

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Yellowtail Fang Blenny specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

It is found on seaward reefs and lagoons at depths of 1m to 30m.

Feeding and Diet

The Yellowtail Fang Blenny is a solitary species that is usually seen hovering above the bottom feeding on zooplankton. It also feeds on benthic invertebrates.

Classification

Species:
atrodorsalis
Genus:
Meiacanthus
Family:
Blenniidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  3. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.
  4. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 251.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Yellowtail Fang Blenny, Meiacanthus atrodorsalis, blue, yellow, black, 'normal fish', 10 cm - 30 cm, countershaded, seaweed reef, kelp/alage/seagrass, marine, adult,