Crimson Soldierfish, Myripristis murdjan (Forsskål 1775)

Other Names: Blotcheye Soldierfish, Crimson Squirrelfish, Crimson Squirrel-fish, Pinecone Soldierfish

A Crimson Soldierfish, Myripristis murdjan, at South Solitary Island, New South Wales. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A pink to silvery-white soldierfish with large scales having pale centres and red margins, a narrow dark brown to blackish streak or marking on the outer part of the gill cover ending in a blotch at the pectoral-fin base, and red fins (except pectorals) with narrow white leading edges on the soft dorsal, anal, caudal, and pelvic fins.

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

Crimson Soldierfish, Myripristis murdjan (Forsskål 1775)

More Info


Carnarvon and offshore reefs of north Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island in the Timor Sea, to Sydney, New South Wales; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, and the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Indo-west-central Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa, to Micronesia and Samoa, north to the Ryukyu Islands, Japan, and south to Australia.
Inhabits reef flats, shallow lagoons, and seaward reefs on coastal and offshore reefs at depths to 50 m. Soldierfishes are nocturnal and shelter in or near crevices, caves and beneath ledges during the day.


Dorsal fin X + I, 13-15; Anal fin IV, 11-13; Pectoral fin 14-16; Lateral-line scales 27-32; Gill rakers 11-15 + 23-28 = 36-43.
Interorbital width: 3.7-4.4 in HL; lower jaw of adults slightly projecting when mouth closed; single pair of tooth patches at symphysis of lower jaw just outside mouth; inner pectoral-fin axil with numerous small scales.


Body red to dusky red, becoming pale red to silvery pink below; scale edges darker red; operculum with narrow dark brown to black margin usually not extending below level of lower edge of pupil; spinous dorsal fin pale red on basal two-thirds, bright red on outer third; blackish submarginal band along each caudal-fin lobe; leading edges of median fins white; axil of pectoral fins dark brown to black.


A mostly nocturnal species that feeds on zooplankton.


Fished in parts of its range.

Similar Species

Differs from the similar Bigscale Soldierfish, Myrispristis berndti, in having a red spinous dorsal fin (vs. orange in M. berndti), and a less inferior or less projecting lower jaw (vs. the lower jaw projecting prominently when mouth closed in M. berndti).


The specific name is the Arabic name for this species. (

Species Citation

Sciaena murdjan Forsskål 1775, Descriptiones Animalium : 48. Type locality: Jeddah, Red Sea.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Crimson Soldierfish, Myripristis murdjan (Forsskål 1775)


Allen, G.R. 1993. Fishes of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 44: 67-91 

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Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21 

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. 

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

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. 

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp. 

Craig, M.T., Eble, J.A., Bowen, B.W. & Robertson, D.R. 2007. High genetic connectivity across the Indian and Pacific oceans in the reef fish Myripristis berndti (Holocentridae). Marine Ecology Progress Series 334: 245–254.

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1829. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 3 500 pp., pls 41-71. (described as Myripristis parvidens)

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. 

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Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S .J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands: new records, community composition and biogeographic significance. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 203–219 

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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) 

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37261002


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-50m (to 160m)

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:27 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map