False Cleanerfish, Aspidontus taeniatus Quoy & Gaimard 1834

Other Names: False Cleaner, False Cleaner Fish, Mimic Blenny

A False Cleanerfish, Aspidontus taeniatus, in Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A combtooth blenny that mimics the similarly coloured Common Cleanerfish, Labroides dimidiatus. The False Cleanerfish copies both the dance and appearance of the cleaner wrasse so that it can bite off pieces of the fins of unsuspecting prey. This colour pattern and behaviour also provides the False Cleanerfish with protection from potential predators.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Aspidontus taeniatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 11 Jul 2020,

False Cleanerfish, Aspidontus taeniatus Quoy & Gaimard 1834


Cheney, K. 2008. The role of avoidance learning in an aggressive mimicry system. Behavioral Ecology 19(3): 583–588. doi:10.1093/beheco/arn001

Cheney, K.L. 2011. Cleaner wrasse mimics inflict higher costs on their models when they are more aggressive towards signal receivers. Biology Letters 8 (1): 10–12. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0687

Cheney, K., Grutter, A.S. & Bshary, R. 2014. Geographical variation in the benefits obtained by a coral reef fish mimic. Animal Behaviour 88: 85-90. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.11.006 Abstract

Kuwamura, T. 1983. Reexamination on the aggressive mimicry of the cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus by the Blenny Aspidontus taeniatus (Pisces; Perciformes). Journal of Ethology 1(1-2): 22–33.

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Robertson, D.R. 2013. Who resembles whom? Mimetic and coincidental look-alikes among tropical reef fishes. PLoS ONE 8(1): e54939. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054939

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37408008

Behaviour:Mimics cleaner wrasses

Depth:1-25 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:11.5 cm TL

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