Animal Species:Stripey, Microcanthus strigatus (Cuvier, 1831)

The Stripey can be recognised by a distinct pattern of slanting black and yellow to white stripes on the sides of the body. The species lives on rocky and coral reefs in protected coastal and estuarine waters.

Standard Common Name


Alternative Name/s

Eastern Stripey, Footballer, Western Stripey


The Stripey can be recognised by its deep, compressed body, and distinct pattern of slanting black and yellow to white stripes.

Size range

The species grows to 16 cm in length.

Similar Species

Another very common coastal fish in the same family as the Stripey (Microcanthidae), also occurs in the Sydney region, and shares the species name


The Stripey is known to occur in three distinct regions. In Australia it is recorded on the east coast from southern Queensland to southern New South Wales. It is common in coastal reefs of the Sydney region. On the west coast it is recorded from Exmouth Gulf to Cape Leeuwin. The third region is in the northern hemisphere, from Japan, China and Hawaii. Some ichthyologists believe that fish from these regions may represent more than one species.

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.

Microcanthus strigatus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Stripey specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?


The species lives on rocky and coral reefs in protected coastal and estuarine waters. It is seen in small to large aggregations. Juveniles often occur in rock pools.

Feeding and Diet

The species eats invertebrates and algae.



What does this mean?


  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. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life; the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544
  4. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  5. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  6. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  7. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  8. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Stripey, Microcanthus strigatus, Kyphosidae, yellow, black, 'normal fish', 10 cm - 30 cm, stripes and bands, coastal reefs, marine, adult,