Western Blue Devil, Paraplesiops sinclairi Hutchins 1987

Other Names: Western Bluedevil

Western Blue Devil, Paraplesiops sinclairi. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A uniformly dark grey to bluish-grey blue devil with small blue spots scattered over head, sometimes a large black to blue blotch on the lower part of the gill cover, pale yellow pectoral fins, and a blue margin on the dorsal, anal, caudal fins and pelvic fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Paraplesiops sinclairi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Apr 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4602

Western Blue Devil, Paraplesiops sinclairi Hutchins 1987

More Info


Endemic to southwestern Australia, between the Recherche Archipelago and Lancelin. Inhabits rocky reefs, often sheltering under ledges and beneath outcrops in depths to about 30 m. This shy species is rarely encountered and may be noctural.


Dorsal fin XII, 10; Anal fin III, 10; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 17-18; Pelvic fin I, 4; Lateral-line Scales 29-32 + 11-14; Gill rakers (lower) 11-12; Vertebrae 10+16=26. 
Body moderately long and fairly deep (33-37% SL), little compressed; caudal peduncle deep, more than half body depth. Head large (35-38% SL); eyes moderately large (28-33% HL); mouth large, oblique, reaching just beyond hind margin of eyes; each jaw with about two rows of small conical teeth, outer row enlarged.
Scales of moderate size, mostly ctenoid on body, cycloid on head; lateral line in two segments, anteriormost angled upward and continuing posteriorly along dorsal profile of side, posteriormost short, on midline of caudal peduncle.  
Single dorsal fin of moderate height, with elongate base, posterior corner produced into pointed tip in adults; anal fin similar to and opposite soft part of dorsal fin, posterior tip reaching as far as dorsal fin tip; caudal fin large, broad and rounded. Pectoral fins large, rounded. Pelvic fins elongate, produced at tip.    


Head, body and fins, except pectoral fins, usually uniformly dark grey to bluish-grey, sometimes with faint bands on the body or pale yellowish bands radiating from eyes; small blue spots scattered over head; sometimes large black to blue blotch present low on each gill cover; pectoral fins pale yellow; other fins blue edged.


Like other species of Paraplesiops, breeding pairs most likely guard small batches of eggs laid on rocky surfaces under ledges and in crevices.

Similar Species

Differs from all other members of Paraplesiops in having a combination of a low upper lateral line count (29-32) and a smooth preopercular margin. 
P. sinclairi, which has spots on the head but not on the body, overlaps in distribution with the similar Southern Blue Devil, P. meleagris, which has spots on the head and body.


The species is named sinclairi in memory of Mr Nick Sinclair who, while a member of the Western Australian Museum's Department of Ichthyology, was involved in the collection of the holotype and two paratypes.

Species Citation

Paraplesiops sinclairi Hutchins 1987, Rec. W. A. Mus. 13(2): 231, figs 1-2. Type locality: east of Esperance, WA [34°00´S, 122°14´E]. 


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Western Blue Devil, Paraplesiops sinclairi Hutchins 1987


Hutchins, J.B. 1987. Description of a new plesiopid fish from south-western Australia, with a discussion of zoogeography of Paraplesiops. Records of the Western Australian Museum 13(2): 231-240 PDF available, open access

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1994. Family Plesiopidae. pp. 552-558 figs 490-495 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. 

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

Mooi, R.D. 2008. Family Plesiopidae. pp.550-556 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37316011

Depth:0-30 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:22 cm TL


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