Lavender Dottyback, Cypho purpurascens (De Vis 1884)

Other Names: Mccullochi Dottyback, Obliquelined Dottyback, Oblique-lined Dottyback

A female Lavender Dottyback, Cypho purpurascens, in the Russell Islands, Solomon Islands. Source: Sally Polack / FishWise Professional. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

Males are reddish to deep pink with blue scale margins forming fine diagonal lines on body. Females are bluish-grey anteriorly becoming pale orange to yellow posteriorly with an orange bar on the gill cover.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Cypho purpurascens in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Dec 2022,

Lavender Dottyback, Cypho purpurascens (De Vis 1884)

More Info


Far northern Great Barrier Reef to the Capricorn Group, Queensland, including offshore reefs and islands; also Elizabeth Reef, near Lord Howe Island, Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the species occurs in the tropical, west-central Pacific (east to Tonga).
Individuals or pairs shelter in or near reef crevices and holes in tide pools, lagoons, reef slopes and surge channels at depths to 40 m.


Dorsal fin III, 22-24; Anal fin III, 13-15; Pectoral fin 17-19; Caudal fin upper part 5-7 procurrent rays, 8 prinicpal rays; Lateral line scales (antero-dorsal series) 23-32, (peduncular series) 3-9.
Lower lip either uninterrupted at symphysis or with a weak interruption only. Caudal fin rounded; dorsal and anal fins without distinct scaly sheaths.


Dottybacks are protogynous hermaphrodites, and form small harems with a dominant male and several females.

Species Citation

Nesiotes purpurascens De Vis 1884, Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 1 9(3): 453. Type locality: South Seas.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Lavender Dottyback, Cypho purpurascens (De Vis 1884)


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

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

De Vis, C.W. 1884. New fishes in the Queensland Museum. No. 2. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 9(3): 453-462.

Gill, A.C. 1999. Family Pseudochromidae. pp. 2557-2577 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. 4 pp. 2069-2790.

Gill, A.C. 2004. Revision of the Indo-Pacific dottyback fish subfamily Pseudochrominae (Perciformes: Pseudochromidae). Smithiana, Publication in Aquatic Biodiversity, Monographs 1: 1-213. Ref at BHL

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.

McCulloch, A.R. 1926. Report on some fishes obtained by the F.I.S. Endeavour on the coasts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South and South-Western Australia. Part 5. Biological Results of the Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavour 1909-1914 5(4): 157-216 figs 1-5 pls 43-56 (as Pseudochromis purpurascens)

Myers, G.S. 1932. A new name for a Melanesian pseudochromid fish confused with Nesiotes purpurescens De Vis. Copeia 1932(1): 30 (as Pseudochromis mccullochi) See ref online

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. 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.

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 2016. Cypho purpurascens (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T69583348A115464117. Downloaded on 02 December 2018.

Whitley, G.P. 1959. Ichthyological snippets. The Australian Zoologist 12(4): 310-323 figs 1-3 (as Pseudochromis mccullochi perpulcher)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37313013


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-40 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:8 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map