Rough Squirrelfish, Pristilepis oligolepis (Whitley 1941)

Other Names: Rough Squirrel Fish, Rough Squirrel-fish, Sawscale Soldierfish, Spinyface Soldier

A Rough Squirrelfish, Pristilepis oligolepis, at Midway Atoll. Source: Keoki Stender / FishWise Professional. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A reddish-orange to deep red squirrelfish with a white spot on each scale forming narrow stripes or lines along the sides. The deep U-shaped premaxillary groove is long with roughly parallel sides.

Video of a Rough Squirrelfish in an aquarium.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Pristilepis oligolepis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Apr 2024,

Rough Squirrelfish, Pristilepis oligolepis (Whitley 1941)

More Info


From off the Perth area to off Geraldton, Western Australia, and off Noosa, Queensland, to the Sir John Young Banks, northeast of Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical and temperate, east-Indo-west-central Pacific. 
Inhabits deeper reefs, sheltering in or near crevices and caves during the day.


Dorsal fin XII, 14-15; Anal fin IV, 11-12. 


Feeds at night on zooplankton.

Species Citation

Holotrachys oligolepis Whitley 1941, Aust.  Zool. 10(1): 28, pl. 1(19). Type locality: between Cape Naturalist and Geraldton, Western Australia, depth 20-100 fathoms.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Rough Squirrelfish, Pristilepis oligolepis (Whitley 1941)


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

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 (as Ostichthys pillwaxii)

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.

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 

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) 

Kotlyar, A.N. 1996. Beryciform fishes of the world ocean. VNIRO Publishing, Moscow, 1-368.

Kotlyar, A.N. 1998. Species composition and distribution of holocentrids in the oceans of the world (Holocentridae, Beryciformes). Journal of Ichthyology 38(2): 170-189.

Randall, J.E., Shimizu, T. & Yamakawa, T. 1982. A revision of the holocentrid fish genus Ostichthys, with descriptions of four new species and a related new genus. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 29(1): 1-26 figs 1-15 pls 1-2 

Roberts, C.D. 2015. Family Holocentridae. pp. 1022-1024 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 3 pp. 577-1152. 

Whitley, G.P. 1941. Ichthyological notes and illustrations. The Australian Zoologist 10(1): 1-50 figs 1-32 pls 1-2 Ref available at BHL

Williams, I. & Greenfield, D. 2016. Pristilepis oligolepis (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T67900591A115441358. Downloaded on 27 April 2018.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37261021

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:9-348 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:30 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map