Arrowhead Soapfish, Belonoperca chabanaudi Fowler & Bean 1930

Other Names: Arrow-head Soapfish, Arrow-headed Soapfish, Chabanaud's Soapfish

An Arrowhead Soapfish, Belonoperca chabanaudi, at Komba Island, Indonesia, August 2018. Source: zsispeo / Flickr. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A slender dusky bluish-grey to brown or blackish soapfish with a bright yellow saddle-like spot on the upper part of the caudal peduncle, and a large ocellated black spot on the spinous dorsal fin.
When stressed or threatened, Arrowhead Soapfish may secrete toxic mucous from their skin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Belonoperca chabanaudi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Sep 2020,

Arrowhead Soapfish, Belonoperca chabanaudi Fowler & Bean 1930

More Info


Rowley Shoals, Western Australia, and the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef, and reefs in the Coral Sea off Queensland; also Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific, from off east Africa and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, and from eastern Indonesia to the Ryukyu Islands, south to New Caledonia, eastward to Samoa, the Gilbert Islands and French Polynesia.
Inhabits steep reef slopes in coral rich areas, often hovering midwater in caves and under ledges during the day.


Feeds on small fishes and crustaceans.


The skin mucous contains the skin toxin grammistin.

Species Citation

Belonoperca chabanaudi Fowler & Bean 1930, Bull. U. S. Natl Mus. 100(10): 182, fig. 4. Type locality: Sulawesi, Indonesia. 


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Arrowhead Soapfish, Belonoperca chabanaudi Fowler & Bean 1930


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.

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

Fowler, H.W. & Bean, B.A. 1930. Contributions to the biology of the Philippine Archipelago and adjacent regions. The fishes of the families Amiidae, Chandidae, Duleidae and Serranidae, obtained by the United States Bureau of Fisheries Steamer Albatross, in 1907 to 1910, chiefly in the Philippine Islands and adjacent seas. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 100(10): 1-334 figs 1-27 

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. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 2004. Basslets, Hamlets and their relatives. A comprehensive guide to selected Serranidae and Plesiopidae. Chorleywood, UK : TMC Publishing 1, 216 pp. 

Kuiter R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 3. Jawfishes - Sunfishes, Opistognathidae - Molidae. Melbourne : Zoonetics pp. 623–893.

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. 

Randall, J.E., Smith, M.M. & Aida, K. 1980. Notes on the classification and distribution of the Indo-Pacific soapfish, Belonoperca chabanaudi (Perciformes : Grammistidae). Special Publication of the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology Rhodes University 8: 1-8 figs 1-2 1 pl.

Williams, J.T., Carpenter, K.E., Lawrence, A. & Myers, R. 2016. Belonoperca chabanaudi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T69584098A69592262. Downloaded on 31 August 2018.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37312005

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-122 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish (rare)

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:15 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map