Chestnut Blenny, Cirripectes castaneus (Valenciennes 1836)

Other Names: Chestnut Eyelash-blenny, Spotted-chin Blenny

A female Chestnut Blenny, Cirripectes castaneus, at Cakaudrove, Fiji, May 2016. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

Males are dark brown with reddish lines on the head, reddish-brown bars along the side, and a dark blotch on the pectoral-fin base. Females have an olive-grey honeycomb-like pattern on the head and body. Individuals also have a dark blue spot on the top of the gill cover, an orange stripe on the dorsal fin, orange to dark blue pectoral fins, a yellow to brown caudal fin, and a red iris.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Cirripectes castaneus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 Sep 2023,

Chestnut Blenny, Cirripectes castaneus (Valenciennes 1836)

More Info


Monte Bello Islands to Scott Reef, Western Australia, Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, and the far northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, and reefs in the Coral Sea, to Seal Rocks, New South Wales, and possibly further south to Sydney; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, and the Lord Howe Province and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Indo-west Pacific.
Inhabits the surge zone on outer reef crests, usually at depths shallower than 10 m. When threatened, individuals duck into crevices on the reef flat.


Dorsal fin XI-XIII,13-15; Anal fin II,14-16; Pectoral fin 15; Pelvic fin I, 4; Lateral-line tubes 1-13; Nape cirri usually 32-40, divided into 4 groups.
Body depth at anal-fin origin 3.2-3.7 in SL. Margin of upper lip with 29-50 crenulae. Cephalic sensory pore system simple; 1 pore behind each nuchal flap. Ventral-most group of nape cirri on each side borne on slightly expanded nuchal flap.


Feeds on algae in the surge zone.


The specific name is from the Latin castaneus (= brown, chestnut-coloured) possibly in reference to the preserved colour of this species.

Species Citation

Salarias castaneus Valenciennes, in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1836,. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons Vol. 11: 324. Type locality: Isle-de-France (Mauritius).


Bray, D.J. 2021


Chestnut Blenny, Cirripectes castaneus (Valenciennes 1836)


Allen, G.R. 1993. Fishes of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 44: 67-91 

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

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 (misidentified as Cirripectes filamentosus)

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp. 

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21 

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. (as Cirripectes sebae)

Carlson, B.A. 1980. A new Indo-Pacific fish of the genus Cirripectes (Blenniidae, Salariini). Pacific Science 34(4): 407-414.

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2 

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. 

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 1. Eels - Snappers, Muraenidae - Lutjanidae. Australia : Zoonetics pp. 1-302.

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

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. 

Stewart, A.L., Struthers, C.D. & Barker, J.J. 2015. 217 Family Blenniidae. pp. 1528-1538 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748..

Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1836. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 11 506 pp. pls 307-343. (also described as Salarias sebae) See ref at BHL

Williams, J.T. 1988. Revision and phylogenetic relationships of the blenniid fish genus Cirripectes. Indo-Pacific Fishes 17: 1-78 figs 1-21 col. pls 1-7

Williams, J.T. 2014. Cirripectes castaneus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T48342513A48351180. Downloaded on 24 August 2021.  Download iTranslate page into:

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37408011

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-32m (usually <10m)

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:11.5 cm TL

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