Linespot Fangblenny, Meiacanthus grammistes (Valenciennes 1836)

Other Names: Black-banded Blenny, Grammistes Blenny, Line-spot Harp-tail, Line-spot Harptail Blenny, Striped Blenny, Striped Fangblenny, Striped Poison-fang Blenny

A Linespot Fangblenny, Meiacanthus grammistes, on Wilsons Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, June 2015. Source: Ian Shaw / License: CC BY Attribution-NonCommercial

A whitish fangblenny with a yellow head and upper body, three black stripes (sometimes made up of spots) along the body, a dark submarginal band along the dorsal fin (made up of dark markings on the membranes between the spines) and black spots on the caudal fin.

Meiacanthus fangblennies have a pair of grooved venomous canines in the lower jaw associated with venom glands - used for defence - allowing them to forage out in the open.
The Linespot  Fangblenny is mimicked by the Shorthead Sabretooth Blenny, Petroscirtes breviceps and juvenile Scolopsis bilineata.

Video of a juvenile Monocle Bream mimicking a Linespot Fangblenny

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Meiacanthus grammistes in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jun 2024,

Linespot Fangblenny, Meiacanthus grammistes (Valenciennes 1836)

More Info


Burnet Island, Western Australia, around the tropical north to Moreton Bay, Queensland; also Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, west Pacific, from Indochina to Papua New Guinea, north to Ryukyu Islands, south to Australia.


Their well-developed swim bladder and venomous fangs allow Meiacanthus fangblennies to forage out in the open.


Species of Meiacanthus are unique amongst fishes if having have grooved dentary canines in the lower jaw associated with venom glands.

Species Citation

Blennechis grammistes Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1836, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 11: 284. Type locality: Java.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Australian Faunal Directory

Linespot Fangblenny, Meiacanthus grammistes (Valenciennes 1836)


Allen, G.R. 1993. Fishes of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 44: 67-91 

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

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

Casewell, N.R. et al. 2017. The Evolution of Fangs, Venom, and Mimicry Systems in Blenny Fishes. Current Biology 27: 1–8 Abstract

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

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. 

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1976. The saber-toothed blennies, tribe Nemophini (Pisces : Blenniidae). Monographs of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 19: 1-196 figs 1-179 

Smith-Vaniz, W. F., Satapoomin, U. &  Allen, G.R. 2001. Meiacanthus urostigma, a new fangblenny from the northeastern Indian Ocean, with discussion and examples of mimicry in species of Meiacanthus (Teleostei: Blenniidae: Nemophini). aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 5(1): 25-43 See ref online

Springer, V.G. 2001. Blenniidae. pp. 3538-3546 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. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1836. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 11 506 pp. pls 307-343.

Williams, J.T. 2014. Meiacanthus grammistes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T48342154A48389543. Downloaded on 12 March 2017.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37408005

Biology:Venomous fangs

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-20 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:10 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map