Java Rabbitfish, Siganus javus (Linnaeus 1766)

Other Names: Blue-spotted Spinefoot, Blue-spotted Trevally, Java Spinefoot, Streaked Spinefoot, Streaky Spinefoot, White-spotted Rabbit-fish

A Java Rabbitfish, Siganus javus, at Kri Pulau, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. Source: David R / iNaturalist. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A grey rabbitfish fading to whitish below with yellow on the cheek and lips, numerous small white spots on the head and back, irregular wavy stripes on the mid to lower sides and a blackish patch covering most of the caudal fin.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Siganus javus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jun 2024,

Java Rabbitfish, Siganus javus (Linnaeus 1766)

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Darwin, NT, to north of Townsville, QLD.Occurs elsewhere in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific.

Inhabits shallow coastal waters, brackish lagoons and rocky or coral reefs - usually solitary or in small schools. 


Dorsal fin XIII, 10; Anal fin III, 9; Pectoral fin 17-18; Vertebrae 13; Scale rows above lateral line. 

Slender and pungent dorsal spines; anal spines stout. Preopercular angle 78°-92°. Strong scales cover cheeks. Midline of thorax scaled but not pelvic ridges. Broad-based triangular flap of anterior nostril reaching half way to posterior nostril in juveniles, reducing to a small crescent with age.


Herbivore  - feeds on benthic algae and on floating algal fragments.


Named for Java, Indonesia, the type locality.

Species Citation

Teuthis javus Linnaeus, 1766, Systema Naturae 1: 507. Type locality: near Java, Indonesia.


Dianne J. Bray

Java Rabbitfish, Siganus javus (Linnaeus 1766)


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.

Johnson, J.W. & Gill, A.C. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of Sweers Island, Gulf of Carpentaria. Gulf of Carpentaria Scientific Study Report. Geography Monograph Series. Brisbane: Royal Geographic Society of Queensland. pp. 239-260.

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls.

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.

Kuiter, R.H. & Debelius, H. 2001. Surgeonfishes, Rabbitfishes and Their Relatives. A comprehensive guide to Acanthuroidei. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 208 pp.

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.

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.

Linnaeus, C. 1766. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Editio duodecima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii Vol. 1 1327 & 36 pp.

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.
Woodland, D.J. 1990. Revision of the fish family Siganidae with descriptions of two new species and comments on distribution and biology. Indo-Pacific Fishes 19: 1-136 figs 1-23, 11 pls

Woodland, D.J. 2001. Siganidae. pp. 3627-3650 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. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37438005

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:0-15 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:40 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map