Elegant Sand Diver, Trichonotus elegans Shimada & Yoshino 1984

Other Names: Elegant Sand-diver, Long-rayed Sand-diver, Threadfin Sand Diver

A male Elegant Sand Diver, Trichonotus elegans, at Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia. Source: Klaus Stiefel / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


Elegant Sand Diver hover over sandy-rubble bottoms, diving into the sand when threatened. Males usually have a harem of females and juveniles.

Males differ from females in both colour and form. Males having very long filamentous dorsal-fin spines, taller soft dorsal-fin rays, and a pointed tail.

Video of  Elegant Sand Divers at Ambon, Indonesia - wonderful footage!

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Trichonotus elegans in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/2596

Elegant Sand Diver, Trichonotus elegans Shimada & Yoshino 1984

More Info


Occurs at the territory of Ashmore & Cartier Islands in the Timor Sea, and at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, and at Bramble Reef in the Coral Sea. Elsewhere, widespread in the Indo-West Pacific.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin III, 43-45; Anal fin I, 39-42; Pectoral fin 12-14; Lateral line scales 56-59; Vertebrae 53-56. 

Head and anterior half of body mostly naked - except for lateral line scales, 3-4 scales behind and below eye, and scales along dorsal and anal-fin bases. 
Males with very long filamentous dorsal-fin spines, taller dorsal-fin rays and a pointed caudal fin (fin rounded in females). 

Species Citation

Trichonotus elegans Shimada & Yoshino, 1984, Japan. J. Ichthyol. 31(1): 15, figs 1-4. Type locality: Yaeyama Islands, Japan.


Dianne J. Bray

Elegant Sand Diver, Trichonotus elegans Shimada & Yoshino 1984


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia.Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. & T. Tonozuka. 2001.Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 2. Fusiliers - Dragonets, Caesionidae - Callionymidae. Zoonetics, Australia. Pp. 304-622.

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Shimada, K. & Yoshino, T. 1984. A new trichonotid fish from the Yaeyama Islands, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 31(1): 15-19 figs 1-4

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37394004

Biology:Changes sex

Depth:10-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sand-rubble bottoms

Max Size:18 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map