Forktail Rabbitfish, Siganus argenteus (Quoy & Gaimard 1825)

Other Names: Schooling Rabbitfish, Schooling Rabbit-fish, Silver Spinefoot, Streamlined Spinefoot

A Forktail Rabbitfish, Siganus argenteus, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Andy Lewis / Lizard Island Research Station. License: CC BY Attribution

A pale bluish to greyish rabbitfish fading to silvery below, often with a dense network of small pale yellow spots sometimes forming lines, especially on the lower side, axil of pectoral fin yellow, a yellow stripe usually along dorsal-fin base, and a dark brown bar on the upper margin of the gill cover. 
When asleep or threatened, Forktail Rabbitfish develop a distinct mottled pattern.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Siganus argenteus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2024,

Forktail Rabbitfish, Siganus argenteus (Quoy & Gaimard 1825)

More Info


Shark Bay region, Western Australia, to Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and from the northern Great Barrier Reef off Cape York to Moreton Bay, Queensland; also reefs in the Coral Sea, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean. The species occurs elsewhere in tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.


Dorsal fin XIII, 10; Anal fin XII,  9; Vertebrae 13. Spines slender, pungent, venomous. Preopercle angle 85°-95°. Fine scales on cheek; midline of thorax lacking scales.


Blue above, silvery below, commonly with variations in markings (spots, curved lines). Silvery-yellow iris. When frightened or asleep, the fish becomes a mottled very light and dark brown, with dark areas predominating in 7 diagonal zones across the sides; fins become mottled. 

Similar Species

Superficially resembles Siganus canaliculatus and S. fuscescens, particularly when young, but differs by having a much more deeply forked tail. 

Species Citation

Amphacanthus argenteus Quoy & Gaimard, 1825, Voyage autour du monde: 368, pl. 62(3). Type locality: Guam, Mariana Islands.


Bray, D.J. 2017

Forktail Rabbitfish, Siganus argenteus (Quoy & Gaimard 1825)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37438007

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:1-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:30 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map