Australian Combtooth Blenny, Ecsenius australianus Springer 1988

Other Names: Australian Blenny, Pale-spotted Coral Blenny

An Australian Combtooth Blenny, Ecsenius australianus, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, May 2006. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A reddish-brown combtooth blenny with  two rows of white spots or dashes along the back and side, a white underside, and the top of the head brown with a black stripe bordered by upper and lower white stripes running through the eye.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Ecsenius australianus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jun 2024,

Australian Combtooth Blenny, Ecsenius australianus Springer 1988

More Info


Northern Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea off Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea.


Dorsal fin XII, 13-15; Anal fin II, 15-17; Pectoral fin 13-14; Caudal fin 13; Vertebrae 10 + 21-23 (usually 22); Dentary incisor teeth 44-51
Anterior canine teeth teeth very similar in appearance to incisors; posterior canines usually one on each side. Cirrus present on posterior rim of anterior nostril, absent on anterior rim. Dorsal fin deeply notched between spinous and segmented-ray portions. Lateral line without vertical pairs of pores, terminating posteriorly at point between verticals from dorsal-fin spines 10 and 12.


Dark postorbital head stripe brownish or blackish, bordered by narrow, bright, pale stripes, which are continuous through eye dorsal and ventral to pupil; another slender, pale stripe extends short distance along dorsal head profile just above eye. Bands and stripes on body vary, according to specimen, from bright reddish orange to dark brownish pink, becoming dark grey posteriorly in all specimens; two rows of bright-white, oblong areas set off by bands and stripes, dorsal row consisting of about 11 areas and ventral row of about 10; body white below ventral stripe.


Reproduction - Oviparous. Females produce demersal adhesive eggs that are attached to the substrate via a filamentous, adhesive pad or pedestal. Larvae are planktonic, and often found in shallow, coastal waters 


The species was named australianus in reference to its presumed endemicity in Australia.

Species Citation

Ecsenius australianus Springer 1988, Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 465: 82, fig. 43, pl. 12(2). Type locality: Yonge Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Australian Combtooth Blenny, Ecsenius australianus Springer 1988


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

Coleman, N. 1981. Australian Sea Fishes North of 30°S. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 297 pp. (as Ecsenius opsifrontalis)

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.

Springer, V.G. 1972. Additions to revisions of the blenniid fish genera Ecsenius and Entomacrodus, with descriptions of three new species of Ecsenius. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 134: 1-13 figs 1-3 (misidentified as Ecsenius opsifrontalis)

Springer, V.G. 1988. The Indo-Pacific Blenniid fish genus Ecsenius. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 465: 1-134 figs 1-68 pls 1-14

Springer, V.G. 2001. Blenniidae. pp. 3538-3546 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.

Springer, V.G. 2002. Ecsenius niue, new species of blenniid fish, and new distribution records for other species in the opsifrontalis species group. Zootaxa 72: 1-6.

Springer, V. G. & Randall, J.E. 1999. Ecsenius polystictus, new species of blenniid fish from Mentawai Islands, Indonesia, with notes on other species of Ecsenius. Revue française d'Aquariologie Herpétologie 26(1/2): 39-48.

Watson, W. 2009. Larval development in blennies. pp. 309-350. In Patzner, R.A., E.J. Gonçalves, P.A. Hastings & B.G. Kapoor (eds). The biology of blennies. Science Publishers, Enfield, New Haven, USA. 482 pp.

Williams, J.T. 2014. Ecsenius australianus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T48342230A48348505. Downloaded on 04 November 2020.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37408021

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-25 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:6 cm TL

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