Doublebar Rabbitfish, Siganus virgatus (Valenciennes 1835)

Other Names: Barhead Spinefoot, Double-bar Rabbitfish, Doublebar Spinefoot, Double-barred Rabbitfish, Double-barred Rabbit-fish, Doublebarred Spinefoot

A Doublebar Rabbitfish, Siganus virgatus, at north Bali, Indonesia. Source: Jim Greenfield / FishBase. License: All rights reserved

A pale rabbitfish fading to silvery white below, with two broad diagonal dark bands on the head and front part of body, pale bluish spots and lines on the head and front part of the body, yellow dorsal and caudal fins, and usually a yellow back and caudal peduncle. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Siganus virgatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Jul 2024,

Doublebar Rabbitfish, Siganus virgatus (Valenciennes 1835)

More Info


Recorded in Australia from the Ningaloo Reef Kimberley region of Western Australia, to the Wessell Islands, Northern Territory. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, east-Indo-west Pacific: India and Sri Lanka east to the Philippines, north to the Ryukyu Islands, and south to northern Australia.
Usually inhabits inshore coastal reefs, around areas of hard coral and sand with patches of rock and soft coral - often in areas with turbid waters.


Dorsal fin XIII, 10; Anal fin VII, 9; Pectoral fin 16-18; Vertebrae 13; scale rows above lateral line 19-27. 
Preopercular angle 100°-111°; cheek scalation variable from few to almost fully scaled; midline of thorax fully scaled, sometimes with a row missing from pelvic ridges. A prominent rim or short tube encircle the anterior nostril, with a little peak on it posteriorly. Spines stout, fairly pungent and venomous.


A brown band running diagonally from nape to chin; another from 4th-5th dorsal spine base to pectoral-fin base; ocular and shoulder bands spotted with blue; a zone of silvery yellow posterior and adjacent to the shoulder band.


Herbivore - grazes on benthic algae.

Similar Species

Easily confused with similar Bluelined Rabbitfish, Siganus doliatus, which has obvious narrow vertical blue lines on the sides rather than blue spots, and horizontal blue lines on the caudal peduncle.

Species Citation

Amphacanthus virgatus Valenciennes, 1835, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 10: 133. Type locality: Java (as Jawa), Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Doublebar Rabbitfish, Siganus virgatus (Valenciennes 1835)


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Carpenter, K.E., Borsa, P., Obota, C. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 2018. Siganus virgatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T117007442A117008803. Downloaded on 02 September 2019. 

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.

Richardson, J. 1843. Contributions to the ichthyology of Australia. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 1 11(69): 169-182 (descsribed as Amphacanthus notostictus)

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

Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1835. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 10 482 pp. pls 280-306.

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:37438016

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:0-12 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:30 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map