Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory



<I>Cirripectes alboapicalis</I>, Norfolk Island

Cirripectes alboapicalis, Norfolk Island

<I>Parablennius tasmanianus</I>

Parablennius tasmanianus


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CAAB: 37408000


Blennies, Fangblennies, Rockshippers

Compiler and date details

23 January 2013 - Douglass F. Hoese & Dianne J. Bray

December 2006 - Douglass F. Hoese & Dianne J. Bray


The Blenniidae occur worldwide in shallow marine and estuarine environments of the tropics and warm temperate areas. Currently, 56 genera and about 360 species are recognised worldwide (Nelson 2006). In Australian waters, 25 genera and 92 species are known, with an additional 4 genera and 14 species included from Norfolk Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island.

Blennies are commonly found in coastal environments, particularly coral reefs and rocky reefs. They are small sized, ranging in length as adults from 3 to 54 cm.

The family has been studied extensively, largely by V. Springer and co-workers. Springer (1968a) defined the family, subfamilies and tribes. Two subfamilies were recognised: the Blenniinae with three tribes and the Nemophidinae, with a single tribe, Nemophini. The Nemophini, commonly know as the saber-toothed blennies, are found on coral reefs worldwide. In his summary of work on the group, Nelson (1994) recognised six tribes. However, based on the work of Bath (2001), Nelson (2006) reduced the number of tribes to five. Australian species belong to four of the tribes, the large Salarini, Omobranchini, Parablennini and Nemophini. Here, species are not grouped into the various tribes because of the small number of species represented here and the complexity of the group.

A number of works have dealt with the genera of some tribes: Smith-Vaniz & Springer (1971) and Springer & Spreitzer (1978) reviewed genera of the tribe Salarini; Smith-Vaniz (1976, 1987) revised genera of the tribe Nemophini; and Springer (1972a, 1981) treated genera of the tribe Omobranchini. Other major revisions include Springer (1967, 1972b-Entomacrodus); Springer (1968b-Stanulus); Springer (1971, 1972b, 1988-Ecsenius); Springer & Gomon (1975-Omobranchus); Bath & Hutchins (1986- Parablennius); Williams (1988-Cirripectes); Springer & Williams (1994-Istiblennius, Blenniella); and Bath (1996- Parablennius). Bath & Randall (1991) provided information on synonymies within Salarias, and Bath (1992) presented a key to the species of Salarias. Bath (2004) revised Rhabdoblennius, but did not examine material from Australia. A key to genera from the western Pacific is presented in Springer (2001). Hasting & Springer (2009) discussed biogeography and elevated some subspecies to species.

Hirculops cornifer (Rüppell, 1828), listed from Australia by Whitley (1964), has been shown by Smith-Vaniz & Springer (1971) to be restricted to the Red Sea and Western Indian Ocean.

Randall et al. (1990) recorded Rhabdoblennius ellipes from the Great Barrier Reef and suggested that R. rhabdotrachelus is probably a junior synonym. However, Bath (2004) revised the genus and regarded R. ellipes as a synonym of R. nitidus (Günther), a species known only from the north-west Pacific. It is not clear what species Randall et al. (1990) illustrated or whether the photograph is of an Australian specimen. In Australia, Rhabdoblennius is known only from the offshore Coral Sea islands; no specimens are known from the Great Barrier Reef.


General References

Bath, H. 1992. Zwei neue Arten der Gattung Salarias Cuvier 1817 von den Philippinen und von Westaustralien (Pisces: Blenniidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 72(4/6): 225-236

Bath, H. 1996. Beitrag zur Osteologie der Arten der Tribus Parablenniini. Die Beziehungen der Knochen des Schädeldaches zum Seitenorgan-System und zu den Weichteilbildungen der Kopfoberseite sowie die systematische Bedeutung der Befunde nebst Bemerkungen. Senckenbergiana Biologica 76(1/2): 65-92

Bath, H. 2001. Osteology and morphology of fishes of the subfamily Salariinae and its junior synonym Parablenniinae (Pisces: Blenniidae). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie) 628: 1-42

Bath, H. 2004. Revision of the genus Rhabdoblennius Whitley (Pisces: Blenniidae: Salariinae), with descriptions of two new species. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie) 669: 1-26

Bath, H. & Hutchins, B. 1986. Die Blenniini des australischen Raums und Neuseelands mit Beschreibung einer neuen Art und einer neuen Unterart. Senckenbergiana Biologica 66(4/6): 167-213 figs 1-47

Bath, H. & Randall, J.E. 1991. Synopsis der Gattung Salarias Cuvier 1817 mit Beschreibung einer neuen Art (Pisces: Blenniidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 71(4/6): 245-258 figs 1-9

Hastings, P. & Springer, V.G. 2009. Recognizing diversity in blennioid fish nomenclature (Teleostei: Blennioidei). Zootaxa 2120: 3-14

Hoese, D.F. & Bray, D.J. 2006. Family Blenniidae. pp. 1540-1566 in Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. Fishes. In, Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 35. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp.

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1976. The saber-toothed blennies, tribe Nemophini (Pisces : Blenniidae). Monographs of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 19: 1-196 figs 1-179

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1987. The saber-toothed blennies, tribe Nemophini (Pisces: Blenniidae): an update. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 139: 1-52 figs 1-29

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & Springer, V.G. 1971. Synopsis of the Tribe Salariini, with description of five new genera and three new species (Pisces : Blenniidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 73: 1-72 figs 1-50

Springer, V.G. 1967. Revision of the circumtropical shore-fish genus Entomacrodus (Blenniidae : Salariinae). Proceedings of the United States National Museum 122(3582): 1-150 figs 1-11 pls 1-30

Springer, V.G. 1968a. Osteology and Classification of the Fishes of the Family Blenniidae. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 284: 1-85 11 pls

Springer, V.G. 1968b. The Indo-Pacific bleniid fish genus Stanulus with description of a new species from the Great Barrier Reef (Blenniidae; Blenniinae; Salariini). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 81(15): 111-122 figs 1-2

Springer, V.G. 1971. Revision of the fish genus Ecsenius (Blenniidae, Blenniinae, Salariini). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 72: 1-74 figs 1-36

Springer, V.G. 1972a. Synopsis of the tribe Omobranchini with descriptions of three new genera and two new species (Pisces : Blenniidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 130: 1-31 figs 1-16

Springer, V.G. 1972b. Additions to revisions of the blenniid fish genera Ecsenius and Entomacrodus, with descriptions of three new species of Ecsenius. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 134: 1-13 figs 1-3

Springer, V.G. 1981. Notes on blenniid fishes of the tribe Omobranchini, with descriptions of two new species. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 94(3): 699-707 figs 1-2

Springer, V.G. 1988. The Indo-Pacific Blenniid fish genus Ecsenius. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 465: 1-134 figs 1-68 pls 1-14

Springer, V.G. 2001. Blenniidae. pp. 3538-3546 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Springer, V.G. & Gomon, M.F. 1975. Revision of the blenniid fish genus Omobranchus with descriptions of three new species and notes on other species of the tribe Omobranchini. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 177: 1-135 figs 1-52

Springer, V.G. & Spreitzer, A.E. 1978. Five new species and a new genus of Indian Ocean blenniid fishes, tribe Salariini, with key to genera in the tribe. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 268: 1-20 figs 1-11

Springer, V.G. & Williams, J.T. 1994. The Indo-west Pacific blenniid fish genus Istiblennius reappraised: a revision of Istiblennius, Blenniella, and Paralticus, new genus. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 565: 1-193 figs 1-73

Waite, E.R. 1921. Illustrated catalogue of the fishes of South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) 2(1): 1-208 293 figs pl. 1 [fig. 238]

Whitley, G.P. 1964. A survey of Australian Ichthyology. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 89(1): 11-127

Williams, J.T. 1988. Revision and phylogenetic relationships of the blenniid fish genus Cirripectes. Indo-Pacific Fishes 17: 1-78 figs 1-21 col. pls 1-7


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
01-Feb-2013 08-Feb-2013 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)