Genus Meiacanthus


Summary:

The fangblennies or sabre-tooth blennies of the genus Meiacanthus, are unique among fishes in having a pair of large grooved canines in the lower jaw (dentary) that secrete venom like a hypodermic syringe. The fangs are used for protection and intraspecific interactions, not for feeding.

When the blenny bites a predator, the pressure forces venom to be secreted from a gland at the base of the groove to the tip of the canine. Potential predators quickly learn to avoid these small venomous fishes, allowing the blennies to forage out in open water. A number of other fishes, often as juveniles, mimic sabre-toothed blennies to avoid predation.

The genus currently contains 28 species, 8 of which occur in Australian waters.

Author: Bray, D.J. 2021

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Meiacanthus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Dec 2021, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/genus/881

References


Randall, J.E. 2005. A Review of mimicry in marine fishes. Zoological Studies 44(3): 299-328.

Randall, J. E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia, 557 pp.

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1976. The saber-toothed blennies, tribe Nemophini (Pisces: Blenniidae). Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Monograph 16: 1–196.

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

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & G.R. Allen. 2011. Three new species of the fangblenny genus Meiacanthus from Indonesia, with color photographs and comments on other species (Teleostei: Blenniidae: Nemophini). Zootaxa 3046: 39-58.

Smith-Vaniz, W. F., Satapoomin, U. &  Allen, G.R. 2001. Meiacanthus urostigma, a new fangblenny from the northeastern Indian Ocean, with discussion and examples of mimicry in species of Meiacanthus (Teleostei: Blenniidae: Nemophini). aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 5(1): 25-43 See ref online

Springer, V.G. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1972. Mimetic relationships involving fishes of the family Blenniidae. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 112: 1–36.