Blackspot Bandfish, Acanthocepola limbata (Valenciennes 1835)

Other Names: Bandfish, Black-spot Bandfish

A Blackspot Bandfish, Acanthocepola limbata, on the Izu Peninsula, Japan. Source: Izuzuki / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

An orange to reddish eel-like bandfish often with narrow bands along the side, a large oval reddish to black spot near the beginning of the dorsal fin, and silvery cheeks, gill cover and pectoral-fin base. Juveniles are greyish. The species has large eyes, long-based dorsal and anal fins, and a slender tapering body. 
When threatened, Blackspot Bandfish dive into their burrows excavated in silty-sandy areas. 

Video of Blackspot Bandfish in an aquarium.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Acanthocepola limbata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Dec 2021,

Blackspot Bandfish, Acanthocepola limbata (Valenciennes 1835)

More Info


Arafura Sea, Northern Territory, and the Great Barrier Reef to off Maroochydore, Queensland, and reefs in the Coral Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Indo-west Pacific: Indonesia, China, Taiwan and Japan.
Excavates burrows in silty area, occasionally adjacent to reefs. Pairs hover above their burrows, feeding on zooplankton drifting by in the current; juveniles may occur in groups.


Dorsal fin 102-104; Anal fin 105-107; Pectoral fin 18; caudal fin 10 (segmented rays; Vertebrae 12 + 60-67.
Preopercular margin with spines; cheeks scaled.


Taken as by-catch in commercial trawls.

Species Citation

Cepola limbata Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1835, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 10: 402. Type locality: Japan.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Blackspot Bandfish, Acanthocepola limbata (Valenciennes 1835)


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

Jordan, D.S. & Fowler, H.W. 1903. A review of the Cepolidae or band-fishes of Japan. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 25(1330): 699-702 fig. 1 

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Indonesian Reef Fishes. Part 1. Eels- Snappers, Muraenidae - Lutjanidae. Australia : Zoonetics pp. 1-302.

Masuda, H., Araga, C. & Yoshino, T. 1975. Coastal fishes of southern Japan. Tokai University Press, Tokyo, Japan. 382p p.

Nakabo, T. (ed.) 2002. Fishes of Japan with pictorial keys to the species. English edition. Tokyo : Toikai University Press pp. 867-1749.

Okiyama, M., 1993. An atlas of the early stage fishes in Japan. Koeltz Scientific Books, Germany. 1154 pp.

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 2001. Cepolidae. pp. 3331-3332 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1835. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 10 482 pp. pls 280-306.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37380004


Depth:15-100 m

Habitat:Silty areas

Max Size:50 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map