Red Squirrelfish, Sargocentron rubrum (Forsskål 1775)

Other Names: Red Squirrel-fish, Red Striped Squirrelfish, Redcoat, Red-striped Squirrelfish, Scarlet-tailed Squirrel-fish

Red Squirrelfish, Sargocentron rubrum, on the Great Barrier Reef, Queendland. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A squirrelfish with alternating reddish and silvery white stripes, a red spinous dorsal fin with a white median stripe, and a dark horizontal streak on the caudal peduncle.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Sargocentron rubrum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Apr 2024,

Red Squirrelfish, Sargocentron rubrum (Forsskål 1775)

More Info


Rottnest Island, Western Australia, around the tropical north to Sydney, New South Wales.
Inhabits coastal reefs in lagoons, bays and harbours, often on rocky reefs in areas subject to strong currents. Shelters in caves, crevices and beneath ledges during the day.


Dorsal fin XI, 12-14; Anal fin IV, 8-10; Pectoral fin 13-15; Lateral-line scales 34-38; Scale rows above lateral line 2.5; Oblique scale rows on cheek 5.
Body depth 2.5-2.8 in SL; head length (HL) 2.65-2.85 in SL; snout short, blunt, its length 4.25-4.7 in HL.


Feeds mostly on crabs, shrimps and small fishes.


The specific name is form the Latin rubrum (= red) in reference to the dark-red body and dorsal surface with white stripes  along the side and on the first dorsal fin.

Species Citation

Sciaena rubra Forsskål 1775. Descriptiones Animalium: 48. Type locality: off Customs dock, Port Sudan Harbour, Sudan, Red Sea (neotype).


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Red Squirrelfish, Sargocentron rubrum (Forsskål 1775)


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. 

Forsskål, P. 1775. Descriptiones Animalium Avium, Amphibiorum, Piscium, Insectorum, Vermium; quæ in Itinere Orientali observavit Petrus Forskål. Post Mortem Auctoris edidit Carsten Niebuhr. Adjuncta est Materia Medica Kakirina atque Tabula Maris Rubri Geographica. Hauniæ : Mölleri 1-19, i-xxxiv, 164 pp., 1 map. See ref at BHL

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2 

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp. (as Adioryx ruber and Adioryx dimidicauda)

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6 

Hutchins, J.B. 2003. Checklist of marine fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. pp. 453-478 in Wells, F.E., Walker, D.I., & Jones, D.S. (eds). Proceedings of the Eleventh International Marine Biological Workshop: The Marine Flora and Fauna of Dampier, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum. 

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) 

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp. 

Macleay, W.J. 1878. The fishes of Port Darwin. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 2(4): 344-367 pls 7-10 (as Holocentrum rubrum)

Marshall, T.C. 1953. Ichthyological notes. No. 2. Department of Harbours and Marine. Queensland 2: 48-63 pls 1-3 (described as Holocentrum dimidicauda)

Randall, J.E. 1998. Revision of the Indo-Pacific squirrelfishes (Beryciformes: Holocentridae: Holocentrinae) of the genus Sargocentron, with descriptions of four new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 27: 1-105 pls 1-11 

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. 

Randall, J.E. & Greenfield, D.W. 1999. Family Holocentridae. pp. 2225-2256 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790. 

Randall, J.E. & Heemstra, P.C. 1985. A review of the squirrelfishes of the subfamily Holocentrinae from the western Indian Ocean and Red Sea. Ichthyological Bulletin of the J.L.B. Smith Institute, Grahamstown 49: 1-27 

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. 

Shimizu, T. & Yamakawa, T. 1979. Review of the squirrelfishes (subfamily Holocentrinae : order Beryciformes) of Japan, with a description of a new species. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 26(2): 109-147 figs 1-23 (as Adioryx ruber)

Taylor, W.R. 1964. Fishes of Arnhem Land. Records of the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land 4: 44-307 figs 1-68 (as Holocentrus ruber)

Williams, I. & Greenfield, D. 2016. Sargocentron rubrum (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T18124179A115367569. Downloaded on 16 March 2020.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37261001

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-84 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:32 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map