Scalyfin Threefin, Norfolkia brachylepis (Schultz 1960)

Other Names: Scalyfin Triplefin, Scaly-head Threefin, Schultz' Triplefin, Tropical Scaly-headed Triplefin

A Scalyfin Threefin, Norfolkia brachylepis, at South Coff Island, New South Wales, May 2012. Source: Ian Shaw / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale greyish to brownish triplefin with 5 darker oblique saddles along the back extending onto the dorsal fins as reddish-brown bands, and dividing into short bands on the lower side that extend onto the anal fin as dark vertical bands, a broad dark bar through the eye, and irregular grey and white bands on the caudal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Norfolkia brachylepis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Sep 2020,

Scalyfin Threefin, Norfolkia brachylepis (Schultz 1960)

More Info


Rottnest Island to Hibernia Reef, Western Australia, and the northern Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea (Ashmore, Osprey), to the Solitary Island, New south Wales; also Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west-central Pacific from the Red Sea to Fiji, north to the Izu Islands, Japan, south to Australia, New Caledonia and Tonga.Inhabits shallow coral and rocky areas on clear lagoon and seaward reefs, often sheltering under ledges.


Dorsal fin IV + XIV-XV + 10-11; Anal fin II, 20-21, spine length half of the rays; Pectoral fin 16, dorsal-most 2-3 and ventral-most rays 7 simple, remainder branched once; Pelvic rays bound together by membrane for less than one-fourth of length of shorter ray; Lateral line pored scales 21-24 (22), terminates between 2nd and 3rd dorsal fins; notched scales and 14-19 (16); total lateral scales 32-35 (34); Dentary pores 5-6 + 1 + 5-6.
Orbital and nasal cirri palmate and about as large as pupil diameter. Dorsal fin also with cirri at tips of spines. Head 2.9-3.6 (3.3) in SL, eye 3.0–3.9 (3.3), maxilla 2.3-3.0 (2.6) and snout 3.3-4.9 (3.8) in head length. 


The specific name brachylepis is from the Latin 'brachium' meaning upper arm, and 'lepis" for fish scale.

Species Citation

Tripterygion brachylepis Schultz 1960, Bull. U. S. Natl Mus. 202(2): 291, fig. 113. Type locality: Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Scalyfin Threefin, Norfolkia brachylepis (Schultz 1960)


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.

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Fricke, R 1997. Tripterygiid fishes of the western and central Pacific, with descriptions of 15 new species, including an annotated checklist of world Tripterygiidae (Teleostei). Theses Zoologicae 29: 1-607 figs 1-110 

Fricke, R. 1991. Ceratobregma striata, a new triplefin (Tripterygiidae) from Northern Australia, and a record of Norfolkia brachylepis from Western Australia. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 37(4): 337-343 figs 1-4 

Fricke, R. 1994. Tripterygiid fishes of Australia, New Zealand and the Southwest Pacific Ocean, with descriptions of 2 new genera and 16 species (Teleostei). Theses Zoologicae 24: 1-585 figs 1-130 

Holleman, W. 2014. Norfolkia brachylepis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T178992A1556629. Downloaded on 17 November 2016.

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.

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

Schultz, L.P. 1960. Family Clinidae. pp. 281-300, figs 109-114 in Schultz, L.P., Chapman, W.M., Lachner, E.A. & Woods, L.P. (eds) Fishes of the Marshall and Marianas Islands. Vol. 2. Families Mullidae through Stromateidae. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 202(2): 1-438, figs 91-132, pls 75-123

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37415022

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-7 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:7.3 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map