Horned Bannerfish, Heniochus varius (Cuvier 1829)

Other Names: Horned Bull-fish, Humphead Bannerfish, Hunchbacked Bullfish, Hunchbacked Coralfish

A pair of Horned Bannerfish, Heniochus varius, at Osprey Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. Source: Dave Harasti. License: All rights reserved

A brown to blackish bannerfish with a narrow white band on the rear of the head, and another from the dorsal-fin spines to the caudal peduncle. Adults have a pair of horns above the eyes and a large bony protruberance on the head.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Heniochus varius in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/428

Horned Bannerfish, Heniochus varius (Cuvier 1829)

More Info


Offshore reefs of north Western Australia, Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland to the Solitary Islands, new South Wales; also Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, and at Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the east-Indo-west-central Pacific.
Inhabits areas of rich coral growth in reef lagoons and on seaward slopes, often sheltering in caves.


Corallivore. unknown whether the Horned Bannerfish feeds exclusively on live coral for food.

Species Citation

Taurichthys varius Cuvier 1829, Le Règne Animal Vol. 2: 129. Type locality (neotype): Ambon Island, Moluccas, Indonesia (originally as East Indies).


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Horned Bannerfish, Heniochus varius (Cuvier 1829)


Allen, G.R. 1980. Butterfly and Angelfishes of the World. New York : John Wiley & Sons Vol. 2 pp. 149-352 figs 214-510. 

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

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. & 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. 

Burgess, W.E. 1978. Butterflyfishes of the World. New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications Inc. 832 pp. figs.

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 Taurichthys bleekeri)

Cuvier, G.L. 1829. Le Règne Animal Distribué d'après son Organisation, pour servir de base à l'histoire naturelle des animaux et d'introduction à l'anatomie comparée. Poissons. Paris : Fortin, Masson et Co. Vol. 2 Nouvelle édition, pp. 122-406. 

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

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Biodiversity of shallow reef fish assemblages in Western Australia using a rapid censusing technique. Records of the Western Australian Museum 20: 247-270 

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. 

Pyle, R. 2001. Chaetodontidae, Pomacanthidae. pp. 3224-3286 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. 

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. 

Rocha, L.A., Allen, G., Myers, R. & Pratchett, M. 2010. Heniochus varius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T165652A6081573. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T165652A6081573.en. Downloaded on 06 August 2019.

Steene, R.C. 1978. Butterfly and Angelfishes of the World. Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed Vol. 1 144 pp. 216 figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37365078

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-30 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:19 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map