Painted Basslet, Pseudanthias pictilis (Randall & Allen 1978)

Other Names: Painted Anthias, Purple-yellow Seaperch

Male Painted Basslets, Pseudanthias pictilis, at Lord Howe Island, February 2010. Source: Ian Shaw / License: CC BY Attribution-NonCommercial


Like many Pseudanthias species, males and females are strikingly different in colour. Males are mostly fuschia-coloured, abruptly becoming reddish on the rear of the body and tail, often with a pale bar separating the colours, and a broad elongate yellow patch on the tail base. Females are pinkish, abruptly becoming yellow towards the rear, and yellow fins.

Video of Painted Basslets in an aquarium.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Pseudanthias pictilis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 May 2024,

Painted Basslet, Pseudanthias pictilis (Randall & Allen 1978)

More Info


Southern Great Barrier Reef (Capricorn Group) Queensland, and reefs in the Coral Sea, to Montague Island, New South Wales; also Lord Howe Island, Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the south-west Pacific, from New Caledonia to eastern Australia, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.

Aggregates in the water column on outer reef slopes in depths of 10-45 m, usually 20-30 m. At Lord Howe Island large schools can be seen outside the lagoon around rocky islets in 10-45 m (Allen et al. 1976).


The species exhibits striking sexual dichromatism. Males are mostly fuschia coloured with a yellowish head, red pelvics andmedian fins, and a large yellowish patch covering most of the basal half of the caudal fin. Females are fuschia on the anterior half of the body and yellow on the posterior half with yellow fins (Allen et al. 1976).


Feeds on zooplankton in the water column.


Species of Pseudanthias are protogynous hermaphodites, meaning that they can change sex from female to male. They form small haremic groups with a dominant male and several females. Pelagic spawner with pelagic eggs and larvae.


Although collected for the aquarium trade, the Painted Basslet, some reports indicate that the species is difficult to maintain in captivity..


IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Species Citation

Anthias pictilis Randall & Allen 1978, Rev. Française d'Aquariol. Herpet. 5(2): 33, figs 1-2. Type locality: south-east side of North Rock, Lord Howe Island. 


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Painted Basslet, Pseudanthias pictilis (Randall & Allen 1978)


Allen, G.R., D.F. Hoese, J.R. Paxton, J.E. Randall, B.C. Russell, W.A. Starck, F.H. Talbot & G.P. Whitley. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365–454 (395, as Pseudanthias sp)

Allen, G.R. & Starck, W.A. 1982. The anthiid fishes of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, with the description of a new species. Revue Française d'Aquariologie et Herpetologie 9(2): 47-56 figs 1-28

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

Choat, J.H., van Herwerden, L., Robbins, W.D., Hobbs, J.P. & Ayling, A.M. 2006. A report on the ecological surveys undertaken at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, February 2006. Report by James Cook University to the Department of the Environment and Heritage. 65 pp.

Francis, M.P. 1991. Additions to the fish faunas of Lord Howe, Norfolk and Kermadec Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 45(2): 204-220.
Francis, M.P. 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

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93 in Hutchings, P. (ed.). Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 pp.

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. 2004. Basslets, Hamlets and their relatives. A comprehensive guide to selected Serranidae and Plesiopidae. Chorleywood, UK : TMC Publishing 1, 216 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.

Randall, J.E. & Allen, G.R. 1978. Anthias pictilis, a new serranid fish from the subtropical southwestern Pacific. Revue Française d'Aquariologie et Herpetologie 5(2): 33-36 figs 1-2

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

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.

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2

Sadovy, Y.J. 2010. Pseudanthias pictilis (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154940A115254179. Downloaded on 24 September 2018.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311122


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:10-45m (mostly 20-30m)

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Max Size:13.5 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map