Blotched Bigeye, Heteropriacanthus carolinus Cuvier 1829

Other Names: Duskyfin Bigeye, Glass Bigeye, Glasseye, Glasseye Snapper, Red Big-eye

A Blotched Bigeye, Heteropriacanthus carolinus, at North Solitary Island, New South Wales, April 2022. Source: divercraig / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A uniform to mottled or blotched reddish to silvery-pink bigeye with spotted median fins, a rounded caudal fin and a naked preopercular margin with striations or small ridges.
In Australia this species was previously called Heteropriacanthus cruentatus, which is restricted to the Atlantic and possibly the south-west Indian oceans (Fernandez-Silva & Ho 2017).

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Heteropriacanthus carolinus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 May 2024,

Blotched Bigeye, Heteropriacanthus carolinus Cuvier 1829

More Info


Houtman Abrolhos to Rowley Shoals, Western Australia, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to Montague Island, New South Wales; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, and Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
During the day, shelters under or near ledges and coral heads in lagoons, seaward reefs and rocky reefs, usually at depths to 35 m. Individuals often form large feeding aggregations at dusk.


Dorsal fin X, 12-13; Anal fin III, 13-14; Pectoral fin 18-19; Lateral-line scales 63-81; Gill rakers 4-6 + 17-20.
Anterior profile almost symmetrical, tip of lower jaw at body midline; preopercular spine well-developed, extending almost to rear tip of subopercle; posterior part of preopercle (behind sensory canal) striate and naked; soft portion of dorsal fin rounded posteriorly, taller than spinous portion; caudal fin rounded.


Feeds mainly at night on larval fishes, crustaceans, polychaetes and cephalopods.


The species is named for the Caroline Islands, the type locality.

Species Citation

Priacanthus carolinus Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1829, Histoire naturelle des poissons 3: 105. Type locality: Oualan, Caroline Islands, western Pacific.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Blotched Bigeye, Heteropriacanthus carolinus Cuvier 1829


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

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

Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2 (as Priacanthus cruentatus)

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21. (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp. (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

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. (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1829. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 3 500 pp. pls 41-71. See ref at BHL

Fernandez-Silva, I. & Ho, H.-C. 2017. Revision of the circumtropical glasseye fish Heteropriacanthus cruentatus (Perciformes: Priacanthidae), with resurrection of two species. Zootaxa 4273(3): 341-361

Fitch, J.E. & Crooke, S.J. 1984. Revision of eastern Pacific catalufas (Pisces : Priacanthidae) with description of a new genus and discussion of the fossil record. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 43(19): 301-315 figs 1-12

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2 (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

Gaither, M.R., Bernal, M.A., Fernandez-Silva, I., Mwale, M., Jones, S.A., Rocha, C. & Rocha, L.A. 2015. Two deep evolutionary lineages in the circumtropical glasseye Heteropriacanthus cruentatus (Teleostei, Priacanthidae) with admixture in the south-western Indian Ocean. Journal of Fish Biology 87: 715–727.

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93, 193-228 in Hutchings, P. (ed.) Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 pp. (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6 (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

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 (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

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. (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

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. (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

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 (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

Starnes, W.C. 1988. Revision, phylogeny and biogeographic comments on the circumtropical marine percoid fish family Priacanthidae. Bulletin of Marine Science 43(2): 117-203. (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

Starnes, W.C. 1999. Family Priacanthidae. pp. 2590-2601 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. (as Heteropriacanthus cruentatus)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37326008


Depth:3-300m (usually 3-35m)

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:32 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map