Lord Howe Threefin, Enneapterygius howensis Fricke 1997

Female mottled red and white, and rear 2/3 of body in male light, with vertical black streaks and triangles above anal fin base. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Enneapterygius howensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1127

Lord Howe Threefin, Enneapterygius howensis Fricke 1997

More Info


Flinders Reef, Moreton Bay region, Queensland, and the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Caledonia.


Dorsal fin III, XII–XIV, 9–10; Anal fin I, 17-18; Pectoral fin i–iii + 6–8 + vi–vii = 16-17; Scale rows, longitudinal series 35-37; Pored lateral-line scales 18–20;  Notched lateral-line scales 16–19; circumpeduncular scales 12; Mandibular pores 3–5 + 1 + 3–5.
No scale rows between posterior and anterior portions of pored and notched lateral-line scale rows, respectively.


White to yellow with four oblique reddish bands, two anterior-most forked below lateral line, third and fourth forming H-shape in pale males and females when fresh; lower two-thirds of head blackish, remainder yellowish-white, in nuptial males; dorsal-fin membrane translucent in both sexes; anal fin blackish in nuptial males; caudal fin blackish, margin transparent in nuptial males.

Similar Species

Differs from the Blackcheek Threefin, Enneapterygius rufopileus, in having a slightly longer snout.


The species is named howensis for the type locality, Lord Howe Island.

Species Citation

Enneapterygius howensis Fricke 1997, Theses Zoologicae 29: 224, fig. 42. Type locality: south end of middle beach, Lord Howe Island [31°32'S, 159°04'E]. 


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Lord Howe Threefin, Enneapterygius howensis Fricke 1997


Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2 (as Tripterygiid sp.)

Francis, M.P. 2019. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4428305 

Fricke, R 1997. Tripterygiid fishes of the western and central Pacific, with descriptions of 15 new species, including an annotated checklist of world Tripterygiidae (Teleostei). Theses Zoologicae 29: 1-607 figs 1-110 

Fricke, R. 1994. Tripterygiid fishes of Australia, New Zealand and the Southwest Pacific Ocean, with descriptions of 2 new genera and 16 species (Teleostei). Theses Zoologicae 24: 1-585 figs 1-130 (as Enneapterygius hemimelas, colour phase IV)

Tashiro, S. & Motomura, H. 2018. Redescriptions of two western Pacific triplefins (Perciformes: Tripterygiidae), Enneapterygius fuscoventer and E. howensis. Ichthyological Research 65: 252–264 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10228-017-0612-5

Waite, E.R. 1904. Additions to the fish-fauna of Lord Howe Island. No. 4. Records of the Australian Museum 5(3): 135-186 fig. 32 pls 17-24 (as Tripterygion rufopileum, in part)

Williams, J. & Holleman, W. 2014. Enneapterygius howensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T179107A1570553. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T179107A1570553.en. Accessed on 21 January 2022.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37415040

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-3 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:3.5 cm SL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map