Dusky Snake Blenny, Ophiclinus antarcticus Castelnau 1872

Other Names: Adelaide Snakeblenny, Adelaide Snake-blenny, Dusky Snakeblenny, Dusky Snake-blenny

A Dusky Snake Blenny, Ophiclinus antarcticus, in Pelican Lagoon, Kangaroo Island, South Australia, April 2013. Source: waterhelen / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A brown snake blenny often with dark blotches and tiny dark speckles on the body and fins, and a series of large white blotches often along the midside, along the dorsal-fin base usually on either side of the dark blotches, and just above the anal-fin base. The species also has several dark stripes often radiating from rear of eyes, dark brown spots or markings on the lips and lower side of the head, brownish dorsal and anal fins with white blotches or darker mottling, brown mottling on the caudal fin, and the basal one-fourth of the pectoral fins brown with a transparent outer part.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Ophiclinus antarcticus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 06 Feb 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1103

Dusky Snake Blenny, Ophiclinus antarcticus Castelnau 1872

More Info


Endemic to southern Australia, from Kangaroo Island and the SA Gulfs, South Australia, to Fremantle, Western Australia.
Inhabits sheltered bays, occurring on seagrass beds and rocky and rubble reefs with sparse macroalgae, often beneath rocks, or among algal and seagrass debris.


Dorsal fin LII-LXI, 1; Anal fin II, 34-42; Caudal fin 13; Pectoral fin 9-11; Pelvic fin I, 2.
Body shallow (11-12% SL). Head small (17-21% SL); eyes small (21-23% HL); tube of anterior nostrils without fleshy flap or cirrus at tip; mouth small (upper jaw length 32-38% HL), nearly horizontal, maxillae reaching just beyond hind edge of eyes; roof of mouth with triangular patch of teeth in large individuals. Lateral line consisting of 9-15 pores originating above each opercle, followed by series of pit-like depressions; front pore in series of pores running down and forward on each cheek unpaired. Dorsal arising above rear of opercles, membranes between anal fin rays not distinctly notched at edge; caudal fin rounded. Pectoral fins of moderate size, much longer than eye diameter. Pelvic fins much longer than eye diameter, arising slightly in front of and below pectoral fin bases.  


Brown with dark blotches or uniformly dark brown, body and fins usually with tiny dark speckles; series of large white blotches often present along centre of each side, at base of dorsal fin and just above anal fin base, those at dorsal fin base usually on either side of dark blotches; several dark stripes often radiating from rear of eyes; lips and lower side of head usually with dark brown spots or marks; dorsal and anal fins brownish with white blotches or darker mottling; caudal fin mottled with brown; basal one-fourth of pectoral fins brown, outer portion clear.


The species was named antarcticus (= southern) presumably in reference to its distribution off southern Australia (South Australia and Western Australia).

Species Citation

Ophiclinus antarcticus Castelnau 1872, Proc. Zool. Acclim. Soc. Vic. 1: 246. Type locality: Gulf St Vincent, South Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Australian Faunal Directory

Dusky Snake Blenny, Ophiclinus antarcticus Castelnau 1872


Castelnau, F.L. de 1872. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. No. II. Note on some South Australian fishes. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria Vol 1: 243-248 See ref at BHL

Castelnau, F.L. de 1875. Researches on the fishes of Australia. Intercolonial Exhibition Essays. No. II, pp. 1–52 in, Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 : Official Record. Melbourne (p.27, described as Neogunellus sulcatus). See ref online

George, A. & Springer, V.G. 1980. Revision of the clinid fish tribe Ophiclinini, including five new species, and definition of the family Clinidae. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 307: 1-31 figs 1-14 https://doi.org/10.5479/si.00810282.307

Herzenstein, S.M. 1896. Ueber einige neue und seltene Fische des Zoologischen Museums der Kaiserlichen Akadamie der Wissenschaften. Annuaire du Musée Zoologique de l'Académie Impériale des Sciences. St. Petersbourg 1: 1-14 (p. 5, desribed as Neogunellus homacanthus)

Hoese, D.F., Gomon, M.F. & Rennis, D.S. 2008. Family Clinidae. pp. 696-722 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

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. & Kuiter, S.L. 2018. Fish watchers guide to coastal sea-fishes of south-eastern Australia. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics 371 pp.

McCulloch, A.R. & Waite, E.R. 1918. Some new and little known fishes from South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) 1(1): 39-78 figs 26-31 pls 2-7 (57, fig. 29, described as Ophiclinus aethiops) See ref at BHL

Rennis, D., Hoese, D.F. & Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Clinidae. pp. 741-775, figs 650-684B in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. 

Thomson, J.M. 1978. A Field Guide to the Common Sea & Estuary Fishes of Non-tropical Australia. Sydney : Collins 144 pp.

Williams, J.T., Holleman, W. & Clements, K.D. 2014. Ophiclinus antarcticus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T179114A1571559. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T179114A1571559.en. Downloaded on 21 January 2017.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37414008

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-18 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:14 cm TL


Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map