False Cleanerfish, Aspidontus taeniatus Click to enlarge image
A False Cleanerfish at a depth of 22m, "The Gut", Rodda Reef, far northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, December 2001. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    taeniatus
    Genus
    Aspidontus
    Family
    Blenniidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 11.5 cm in length.

Introduction

The False Cleanerfish is blue above, pale below, and has a black stripe running from the snout to the caudal fin margin. This species occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-Pacific.

Identification

The False Cleanerfish is blue above, pale below, and has a black stripe running from the snout to the caudal fin margin. Its mouth is overhung by the snout. The teeth are small with the exception of pair of very large curved canines on the lower jaw . There are four cirri in a row across the chin.

Distribution

This species occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-Pacific. In Australia it is recorded from the central coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north and south to the central 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.



Feeding and diet

The False Cleanerfish resembles the Striped Cleaner Wrasse, a species that cleans parasites from the bodies of larger fishes. This mimicry allows the False Cleanerfish to "safely" approach larger fishes and bite off pieces of fins and scales. The False Cleanerfish also eats fish eggs and the branchiae of tubeworms.

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. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  5. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.