Genus Meiacanthus


The fangblennies or sabre-tooth blennies of the genus Meiacanthus, are unique among fishes in having a pair of large grooved canines in the lower jaw (dentary) that secrete venom like a hypodermic syringe. The fangs are used for protection and intraspecific interactions, not for feeding.

When the blenny bites a predator, the pressure forces venom to be secreted from a gland at the base of the groove to the tip of the canine. Potential predators quickly learn to avoid these small venomous fishes, allowing the blennies to forage out in open water. A number of other fishes, often as juveniles, mimic sabre-toothed blennies to avoid predation.

The genus currently contains 28 species, 8 of which occur in Australian waters.

Author: Bray, D.J. 2021

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Meiacanthus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 May 2024,


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