Spotted Wriggler, Xenisthmus eirospilus Gill & Hoese 2004

Spotted Wriggler, Xenisthmus eirospilus. Source: A. Gill & D. Hoese, 2004, Records of the Australian Museum, License: All rights reserved

A small pale wriggler with 12 large closely-spaced dark brown spots on the upper sides, a broad stripe from the snout to the upper part of the pectoral-fin base, a dark spot on the caudal-fin base with bright reddish-orange pigment above and below. 

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Xenisthmus eirospilus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Apr 2024,

Spotted Wriggler, Xenisthmus eirospilus Gill & Hoese 2004

More Info


Recorded in the Australian EEZ from Middleton Reef, in the Tasman Sea and Ashmore Reef in the Coral Sea. Elsewhere in the tropical Soutwest Pacific from West Papua, Indonesia, to Rotuma and Tonga. Inhabits sandy areas on coral reefs. Inhabits sand patches among reefs and rubble, including in shallow surge areas.


Merisitc features: Dorsal fin VI + I, 12-13; Anal fin I, 11-12; Pectoral fin 15-17; Caudal fin (branched rays) 13-15; Lateral scales 50-58; Predorsal scales 12-17; gill rakers 1-3 + 7-11; Vertebrae: 27 (10+17).

Tongue indented, posterior nostrils with a well-developed flap on anterior rim; predorsal area broadly scaled to about vertical through posterior edge of preopercle.


Upper sides with 12 large, closely-spaced spots, not usually extending to upper edge of body.


The specific name eirospilus is from the Greek eiro meaning 'to join in lines or string together', and spilos for 'spot or fleck', in reference to the prominent pattern of closely spaced dark spots on the mid-side.

Species Citation

Xenisthmus eirospilus Gill & Hoese, 2004, Rec. Aust. Mus. 56: 243, fig. 2. Type locality: Elizabeth Reef, NSW [29°54'S, 159°02'48"E].


Dianne J. Bray

Spotted Wriggler, Xenisthmus eirospilus Gill & Hoese 2004


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Gill, A.C. & Hoese, D.F. 2004. Three new Australian species of the fish genus Xenisthmus (Gobioidei: Xenisthmidae). Records of the Australian Museum 56: 241-246.

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93 in Hutchings, P. (ed.) Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 pp. (p. 224 as Xenisthmus n. sp.)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37429060

Depth:0-10 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:2.5 cm TL

Native:Endemic (to Aust EEZ)

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