Purplespotted Bigeye, Priacanthus tayenus Richardson 1846

Other Names: Purplespot Bigeye, Spotted-finned Bullseye, Threadfin Bigeye, Threadfin Big-eye

Purplespotted Bigeye, Priacanthus tayenus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial

A bigeye with relatively tall soft dorsal and anal fins, filamentous tips on the tail, and distinctive dark purple to blackish spots on the pelvic fin membranes.

Video of presettlement behaviour of a larval Purplespotted Bigeyes filmed using pelagic BRUVs (Baited Remote Underwater stereo-Video systems) off Coral Bay, Western Australia, depth 35 m.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Priacanthus tayenus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Apr 2021,

Purplespotted Bigeye, Priacanthus tayenus Richardson 1846

More Info


Shark Bay, Western Australia, around the tropical north to off Townsville, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific.


Dorsal fin with X spines and 11 to 13 soft rays; anal fin with III spines and 12 to 14 soft rays; caudal fin more or less truncate in smaller specimens but becoming very lunate in some (possibly males) but not all larger specimens. Pored lateral-line scales 51 to 67. Body moderately deep and elongate, laterally compressed. Anterior profile slightly assymetrical, extremity of protruding lower jaw usually slightly above level of midline of body. Small teeth on dentaries, vomer, palatines, and premaxillaries. 


Pink to reddish, or silvery white with pink tinges, fins pinkish; pelvic fins with small dark purple to blackish spots on the fin membranes, including one or two larger spots on the membrane connecting the fin to the abdomen.


Carnivore - feeds on a range of benthic invertebrates.

Species Citation

Priacanthus tayenus Richardson 1846, Rept 15th mtg Brit. Assoc. Adv. Sci. 1845: 237. Type locality: Canton, China.


Dianne J. Bray


Australian Faunal Directory

Purplespotted Bigeye, Priacanthus tayenus Richardson 1846


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

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Blaber, S.J.M., D.T. Brewer & A.N. Harris. 1994. Distribution, biomass and community structure of demersal fishes of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 45(3): 375-396.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp.

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp.

Richardson, J. 1846. Report on the ichthyology of the seas of China and Japan. Report of the 15th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 1845: 187-320.

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle 6(1): 69-84.

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

Salini, J.P., S.J.M. Blaber & D.T. Brewer. 1994. Diets of trawled predatory fish of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia, with particular reference to predation on prawns. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 45(3): 397-411.

Starnes, W.C. 1988. Revision, phylogeny and biogeographic comments on the circumtropical marine percoid fish family Priacanthidae. Bulletin of Marine Science 43(2): 117-203.

Starnes, W.C. 1999. Family Priacanthidae. pp. 2590-2601 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. 4 pp. 2069-2790.

Santana-Garcon J, Leis JM, Newman SJ, Harvey ES. 2014. Presettlement schooling behaviour of a priacanthid, the Purplespotted Bigeye Priacanthus tayenus (Priacanthidae: Teleostei). Environmental Biology of Fishes 97(3): 277-283. Abstract

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37326003

Depth:2–200 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:35 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map