Honeycomb Podge, Pseudogramma polyacanthus (Bleeker 1856)

Other Names: False Gramma, Palespotted Podge

Honeycomb Podge, Pseudogramma polyacantha. Source: Barry Hutchins / Western Australian Museum. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

A brown podge with a mottled checkerboard pattern of alternating dark brown and tan spots, a pale streak on the head from the lower border of the eye to the upper part of the pectoral-fin base, a large black spot bordered by pale ring on the gill cover, a brown iris with a narrow irregular yellow or orange ring around the pupil, and a pale bar on the caudal-fin base bordered posteriorly by a brown crescent-shaped marking.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Pseudogramma polyacanthus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Mar 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4525

Honeycomb Podge, Pseudogramma polyacanthus (Bleeker 1856)

More Info


South Muiron Island and offshore reefs of Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, around the tropical north to Julian Rocks, New South Wales, and reefs in the Coral Sea, Queensland; also at Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean, and Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread and abundant in the Indo-west-central Pacific from Moorea and Scilly Atoll, French Polynesia, in the Central Pacific, westward through the Philippine and Indo-Malay region and Japan to Sri Lanka, Mauritius and the Cargados Carajos Shoals in the Western Indian Ocean.

A solitary, cryptic species that shelters among corals in lagoons and on shallow reef flats. 


Dorsal rays VII, 19–20 (mean=19.42) ; Anal rays III, 15–17 (mean=15.80) ; Pectoral rays 14–16 (mean=15.23) ; Lateral line scales usually 27–33 (2 specimens each with 23 and 25); longitudinal scale series 46–56; gill rakers 5–6 + 10–12; vertebrae 10 + 16 (rarely 10 + 15).
Modally 19 (many with 20) segmented dorsal-fin rays; modally 16 segmented anal-fin rays; LLat relatively short (1.82–2.78 in SL, mean=2.14), usually no fully developed second LL (some tubed scales rarely present posteriorly); extensive scalation on the interorbital, suborbital and dentary; head length 2.3-2.8 in SL; peduncle depth 3.1–4.6 in HL.


Based on photos of freshly dead specimens: head brown with pale streak extending ventro-posteriorly from ventral border of orbit, across preopercle toward upper end of pectoral-fin base; large black spot on opercle bordered by pale ring; anterior nostril a short brown tube with pale stripe laterally; iris brown with narrow irregular ring of yellow or orange bordering pupil; ventral border of orbit black. Body with mottled checkerboard pattern of alternating dark brown and tan spots. Fins dusky brown, caudal fin with pale bar on base bordered posteriorly by half-moon shaped brown crescent. Colour in alcohol essentially the same as fresh colour, but lacking yellow and orange colours. (Williams et al. 2016)

Species Citation

Pseudochromis polyacanthus Bleeker 1856, Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 10: 375. Type locality: Ternate, Molucca Islands, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Honeycomb Podge, Pseudogramma polyacanthus (Bleeker 1856)


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. 

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

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 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. 

Baldwin, C.C. & Johnson, G.D. 1993. Phylogeny of the Epinephelinae (Teleostei: Serranidae). Bulletin of Marine Science, 52(1), 240–283.

Bleeker, P. 1856. Zevende bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Ternate. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voorNederlandsch Indië 10: 357–386. See ref at BHL

Bleeker, P. 1875. Sur le famille des pseudochromidoïdes et révision de ses espèces insulindiennes. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen 15: 1-32

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 

Fricke, R., Kulbicki, M. & Wantiez, L. 2011. Checklist of the fishes of New Caledonia, and their distribution in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (Pisces). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie) Neue Serie 4: 341-463 

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S.J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Checklist and new records of Christmas Island fishes: the influence of isolation, biogeography and habitat availability on species abundance and community composition. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 184–202 

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S .J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands: new records, community composition and biogeographic significance. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 203–219 

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

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293

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. 

Randall, J.E. & Baldwin, C.C. 1997. Revision of the serranid fishes of the subtribe Pseudogrammina, with descriptions of five new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 26: 1-56 pl. 1

Williams, J.T., Lawrence, A. & Myers, R. 2016. Pseudogramma polyacantha. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T69592021A69592844. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T69592021A69592844.en. Downloaded on 06 November 2019.

Williams, J.T. & Viviani, J. 2016. Pseudogramma polyacantha complex (Serranidae, tribe Grammistini): DNA barcoding results lead to the discovery of three cryptic species, including two new species from French Polynesia. Zootaxa 4111(3): 246–260. Abstract

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37314002

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-65 m

Habitat:Reef associated, cryptic

Max Size:9 cm SL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map