Pacific Drummer, Kyphosus sectatrix Linnaeus 1758

Other Names: Beaked Chub, Bermuda Chub, Bermuda Sea Chub, Grey Drummer, Pacific Chub, White Chub

A Pacific Drummer, Kyphosus sectatrix, inside North Head, Lord Howe Island lagoon, Tasman Sea. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution

A greenish to bronze drummer becoming pale greyish to silvery below, with faint golden horizontal lines along the body, often a white or silvery streak on the cheek beneath the eye, and often a narrow thin pale stripe below the dorsal fin base. Bright yellow individuals are occasionally seen, often with blotches or patches of black and paler yellow or whitish areas. Juveniles are grey with white or pale spots on the body and fins.

Prior to 2012, the Pacific Drummer was known in Australia as Kyphosus pacificus, now considered to be a junior synonym of K. sectatrix (Knudsen & Clements 2013). The species has also been called Kyphosus bigibbus.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2016, Kyphosus sectatrix in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024,

Pacific Drummer, Kyphosus sectatrix Linnaeus 1758

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Heron Island, Queensland, to Ulladulla, New South Wales, also the Lord Howe Island region, and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the species is widespread and locally abundant in subtropical waters: in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

Forms schools (often with other drummer species) on shallow reefs, often in the surge zone. Also occurs over algal reefs and seagrass beds, sandy and rocky bottoms, and reef flats. Juveniles, which often shelter among floating Sargassum seaweeds, can disperse across vast distances.


Dorsal fin X-XI, 11-12; Anal fin II-III, 10-12. Gill rakers on external side of lower limb on first arch 14–18, and on upper limb 5–8; Lateral line with 63–76 scale rows in total, of which 51–61 has pores; Longitudinal scale row 60–69 scales; Precaudal and caudal vertebrae 10 and 15, respectively; Dorsal and anal pterygiophores 20–21 and 12, respectively. 
Anal fin relatively highly elevated, with second anal-fin ray longest 8.5–15.2 %SL. Pectoral fin length 13.3–24.1 %SL. Jaws with a regular row of close-set, strong, incisor-like, round-tipped teeth of a peculiar hockey stick-shape, their bases set horizontally, resembling a radially striated bony plate inside mouth.


Omnivore - feeds on benthic algae, as well as on small crabs and molluscs.

Species Citation

Perca saltatrix Linnaeus, 1758, Systema Naturae: 293 [First described as Perca saltatrix, but corrected to Perca sectatrix in Linnaeus 1766: 486.]. Type locality: Dry Tortugas Island, Gulf of Mexico, Florida, USA (Neotype).


Bray, D.J. 2016

Pacific Drummer, Kyphosus sectatrix Linnaeus 1758


Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2 (p. 406, as Kyphosus fuscus)

Carpenter, K.E., Robertson, R., Pina Amargos, F. & Curtis, M. 2015. Kyphosus sectatrix. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T198561A16644027. Downloaded on 11 August 2016.

Gilbert, C.A. 2015. Designation of a neotype for the kyphosid fish Kyphosus sectatrix (Linnaeus, 1758). Zootaxa 3999(2): 295–297.

Knudsen, S.W. & Clements, K.D. 2013. Revision of the fish family Kyphosidae (Teleostei: Perciformes). Zootaxa 3751(1): 1–101.

Knudsen, S.W. & Clements, K.D. 2016. World-wide species distributions in the family Kyphosidae (Teleostei: Perciformes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 101: 252-266. Abstract

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) (as Kyphosus pacificus)

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna tria Naturae, secundem Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentis, Synonymis, Locis. Tom.1 Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii 824 pp.

Linnaeus, C. 1766. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Editio duodecima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii Vol. 1 1327 & 36 pp.

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 720 pp. (as Kyphosus pacificus)

Sakai, K. & Nakabo, T. 2014. Taxonomic review of Kyphosus (Pisces: Kyphosidae) in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans. Ichthyological Research 61(3): 265–292. (as Kyphosus pacificus; K. sectatrix regarded as nomina dubia)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37361023

Behaviour:Reef associated

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-30 m

Max Size:76 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map