Genus Alabes


Small to very small, slender eel-like fishes, with bodies tapering to a small caudal fin united to dorsal and anal fins; caudal fin with 4-12 rays, rays absent from dorsal and anal fins; pectoral fin absent, pelvic fins rudimentary or absent. Head small, snout short, rounded to pointed when viewed from above, eye with a prominent clear cornea; gill opening a transverse slit on underside of head. Skin smooth, usually with a layer of mucous, scales absent; lateral line reduced, consisting of small open pores on head and minute papillae, pores absent in one species; urogenital papilla prominent.

Endemic Australian genus with 12 species found in coastal waters of mainland Australia and Norfolk Island.

Author: Dianne J. Bray

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Alabes in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Oct 2019,


Hoese, D.F. & D.J. Bray. 2006. Gobiesocidae (pp.  1568-1576). In: Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3 2178 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. 1991. Southern Australia’s enigmatic clingfishes. Australian Natural History 23(8): 626–633.

Hutchins, B. 2006. Description of two new species of shore-eels (Gobiesocidae: Cheilobranchinae: Alabes) from south-eastern Australia and Norfolk Island. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 63(1): 25-28

Hutchins, B. & S. Morrison. 2004. Five new fish species of the genus Alabes (Gobiesocidae: Cheilobranchinae). Records of the Australian Museum 56(2):  147–158.

Hutchins, J.B. 2008. Family Gobiesocidae (pp. 722-742). In: Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland, 928 pp.

Springer, V.G., & T.H. Fraser, 1976. Synonymy of the fish families Cheilobranchidae (= Alabetidae) and Gobiesocidae, with descriptions of two new species of Alabes. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 234: 1–23.