Short Shore Eel, Alabes brevis Springer & Fraser 1976

A Short Shore Eel, Alabes brevis. Source: Barry Hutchins / Western Australian Museum. License: All rights reserved

A small poorly-known greenish shore-eel with a tiger-like pattern of irregular dark bars on the side of the head, and often small dark spots on the head and front half of the body.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Alabes brevis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 May 2024,

Short Shore Eel, Alabes brevis Springer & Fraser 1976

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Endemic to Western Australia from Albany to Rottnest Island. Inhabits seagrass beds and weedy areas on shallow coastal reefs in depths to 10 metres.


Pelvic fin absent, fin-fold questionably present; Caudal fin relatively large, 9-10 rays; Vertebrae 60-61, 21 posterior-most vertebrae bearing an epipleural rib.
Head relatively large, length 6.7–8.4 in SL; posterior nasal pore absent; gill opening width about = eye diameter; back not usually hunchback-like, although gravid females may have this appearance.

Similar Species

Differs from all the other species of Alabes by its low vertebral count (60-61), and from all other species except A. hoesei, in having 2 postocular pores. It differs from A. hoesei in usually lacking a posterior nasal canal pore, in having more epipleural ribs, and a larger gill opening.


The specific name is from the Latin brevis (= short) in reference to the reduced number of vertebrae characterising this species.

Species Citation

Alabes brevis Springer & Fraser 1976, Smithson. Contrib. Zool. 234: 19. Type locality: Green Island, Rottnest, Western Australia. 


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Short Shore Eel, Alabes brevis Springer & Fraser 1976


Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services.

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

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

Springer, V.G. & Fraser, T.H. 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 figs 1-14,

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37206007

Depth:0-10 m

Habitat:Reef associated, seagrass/weedy areas

Max Size:3.6 cm SL


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