Scalyfin Threefin, Norfolkia brachylepis (Schultz 1960)

Other Names: Scalyfin Triplefin, Scaly-head Threefin, Schultz' Triplefin, Tropical Scaly-headed Triplefin

A Scalyfin Threefin, Norfolkia brachylepis, at South Coff Island, New South Wales, May 2012. Source: Ian Shaw / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale greyish to brownish triplefin with 5 whitish oblique saddles along the back and upper side extending onto the dorsal fins, prominent dark and white bands on the anal fin, a broad dark bar below the eye, and irregular grey and white bands on the pectoral and caudal fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Norfolkia brachylepis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Sep 2023,

Scalyfin Threefin, Norfolkia brachylepis (Schultz 1960)

More Info


Rottnest Island, Western Australia, to Hibernia Reef in the Timor Sea, and the far northern Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea (Ashmore, Osprey), to Coffs Harbour and the Solitary Islands, New South Wales (may also occur at Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean). Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west-central Pacific from the Red Sea and East Africa, to the Marshall Islands and Fiji, north to Japan, south to New Caledonia and Tonga.
Inhabits shallow coral and rocky areas on clear lagoon and seaward reefs, often sheltering in crevices and under ledges at depths to 25 m.


Dorsal fin IV + XIV-XV + 8-11; Anal fin II,17-20, spine length half of the rays; Pectoral fin 15-16; Pelvic fin I,2; Lateral line interrupted, pored scales 14-19 + 16-24; Mandibular pores 4 + 1 + 4.
Scales mostly ctenoid, cycloid on abdomen; scales present on head, cheek, opercle and pectoral-fin base; orbital and nasal tentacles flap-like, about as large as pupil diameter. Dorsal fin also with cirri at tips of spines. Head 2.9-3.6 (3.3) in SL, eye 3.0–3.9 (3.3), maxilla 2.3-3.0 (2.6) and snout 3.3-4.9 (3.8) in head length. 


The specific name brachylepis is from the Greek brachy (= short), and lepis (= scale).

Species Citation

Tripterygion brachylepis Schultz 1960, Bull. U. S. Natl Mus. 202(2): 291, fig. 113. Type locality: Bikini Atoll, lagoon at eastern end, coral head at depth 20-25 feet, Marshall Islands.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Scalyfin Threefin, Norfolkia brachylepis (Schultz 1960)


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

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

Fricke, R. 1991. Ceratobregma striata, a new triplefin (Tripterygiidae) from Northern Australia, and a record of Norfolkia brachylepis from Western Australia. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 37(4): 337-343 figs 1-4 

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 

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., Kulbicki, M. & Wantiez, L. 2011. Checklist of the fishes of New Caledonia, and their distribution in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (Pisces). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde A, Neue Serie 4: 341-463.

Holleman, W. 2014. Norfolkia brachylepis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T178992A1556629. Downloaded on 17 November 2016.

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. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. 

Schultz, L.P. 1960. Family Clinidae. pp. 281-300, figs 109-114 in Schultz, L.P., Chapman, W.M., Lachner, E.A. & Woods, L.P. (eds) Fishes of the Marshall and Marianas Islands. Vol. 2. Families Mullidae through Stromateidae. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 202(2): 1-438, figs 91-132, pls 75-123 See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37415022

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-25 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:7.3 cm TL

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