Peacock Rockskipper, Istiblennius meleagris (Valenciennes 1836)

Other Names: Peacock Blenny, Spotted Blenny, White-speckled Blenny

A Peacock Rockskipper, Istiblennius meleagris, at Pebbly Beach, New South Wales, May 2014. Source: Ian Shaw / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale brown to dark dusky-brown blenny with numerous small pales spots on the head and body, a series of irregular, more or less paired, broken bands (more obvious in females) along the sides and extending onto the dorsal-fin bases, oblique stripes on the dorsal fin in males, and dark spots in females.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Istiblennius meleagris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 07 Jul 2022,

Peacock Rockskipper, Istiblennius meleagris (Valenciennes 1836)

More Info


Scarborough, Western Australia, around the tropical north to Sydney, New South Wales. 
Inhabits rocky and mangrove-lined shores, sometimes aggregating in groups beneath rocks and coral rubble in the intertidal zone. The Peacock Rockskipper and the Rippled Rockskipper, Istiblennius edentulus, occur together in the intertidal region on the Queensland coast.


Dorsal fin XII-XIV, 17-21; Anal fin II, 17-21; Pectoral fin 12-15; Vertebrae 11-12 + 24-28 = 35-39.
Notched membrane between spinous and segmented-ray of the dorsal fin >75% the length of the first segmented ray; posterior membrane from posterior-most ray beginning between the dorsal edge of caudal peduncle, anterior to caudal-fin base, to dorsal margin of caudal fin <15% of caudal-fin length, typically on caudal peduncle, rarely posteriorly past the vertical at caudal-fin base; nape cirrus present or absent bilaterally or unilaterally, with slight variations between populations; orbital cirrus tree-like with medial and lateral branches; nasal cirri on rim of each anterior nostril short, palmate, with 2-8 branches (typically <6); membrane from last dorsal-fin ray usually attached to caudal peduncle at or anterior to caudal-fin base; mandibular pores 4-6; lacking posterior canines; ventral margin of upper lip crenulate; no canine teeth present in lower jaw; both sexes with fleshy, blade-like crest on dorsal part of head.
Lateral line canal continuous antedorsally with simple pores (no vertical pairs of pores), extending posteriorly to point between verticals from 8th and 13th (rarely only to 8th) dorsal-fin spines, descending to midside and, in specimens >3 cm SL, continuing posteriorly as series of 6 to 26 short, disconnected, horizontally bi-pored canals/tubes in skin usually more than 10 and often more than 18, proportional to SL.


The specific name is from meleagris (= guinea fowl), presumably in reference to the round silvery spots covering the body that resemble the spotted colour pattern of the Guinea Fowl.

Species Citation

Salarias meleagris Valenciennes, in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1836, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 11: 332. Type locality: terre de Van-Diemen (type locality probably in error and outside known distribution). 


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Peacock Rockskipper, Istiblennius meleagris (Valenciennes 1836)


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. 

Castelnau, F.L. de 1875. Researches on the fishes of Australia. Intercolonial Exhibition Essays. 2. pp. 1–52 in, Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 : Official Record. Melbourne. (described as Blennius vittipinnisSee ref online

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

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. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293

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 

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & Springer, V.G. 1971. Synopsis of the tribe Salariini, with description of five new genera and three new species (Pisces: Blenniidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 73: 1-72,

Springer, V.G. 2001. Blenniidae. pp. 3538-3546 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. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Springer, V.G. & Williams, J.T. 1994. The Indo-West Pacific blenniid fish genus Istiblennius reappraised: a revision of Istiblennius, Blenniella, and Paralticus, new genus. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 565: 1-193,

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

Williams, J.T. & Myers, R. 2014. Istiblennius meleagris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T48342442A48388872. Downloaded on 01 April 2017.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37408046

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-3 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:15 cm TL


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CAAB distribution map