Oyster Blenny, Omobranchus anolius (Valenciennes 1836)

Other Names: Crested Blenny

An female Oyster Blenny, Omobranchus anolius, in Rose Bay, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, March 2016. Source: Sylke Rohrlach / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-ShareAlike

A species of comb-tooth blenny often found in mussel and oyster beds. Males have a prominent fleshy crest on the head, and long filamentous dorsal-fin rays. Oyster Blennies are usually olive green, with black spots and fine bluish or blackish lines along sides, and fine pale wavy lines on head.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Omobranchus anolius in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Jan 2020,

Oyster Blenny, Omobranchus anolius (Valenciennes 1836)

More Info


Widespread in shallow tropical and temperate waters of eastern and south-eastern Australia, from the Cape York (Queensland) to Spencer Gulf (South Australia); relatively recently recorded in New Zealand. Found in shallow bays and estuaries, especially amongst oyster and mussel beds in 0-10 m.

Oyster blennies live in association with oyster shells, mussel shells and calcareous polychaete worm tubes, usually in the intertidal region of bays and estuaries. Females lay their eggs in empty oyster or mussel shells.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin spines/rays XI-XIII, 17-19; Anal fin spines/rays II, 19-20; Caudal fin rays 12-13; Pectoral fin rays 13;
Ventral fin spines/rays I, 2

Body long, slender, compressed, snout steep, mouth small, eyes near top of head. Tentacles absent from nostrils and above eye. Dorsal fin long-based, pelvic fins reduced to a hidden spine and two long, slender rays. Males with a prominent fleshy crest on the head, and long filamentous dorsal-fin rays.


To 9 cm.


Usually olive green, with black spots and fine bluish or blackish lines along sides, and fine whitish wavy lines on head.


Like all Blenniidae, this species is gonochoristic and an oviparous nest spawner.  The male guards the deposited eggs which are demersal and adhesive.  After hatching, the larvae are planktonic before they settle on the bottom.


Like all blennies, the sexes are separate and females lay demersal, adhesive eggs.  The eggs are guarded by the male until they hatch, and the larvae have a planktonic phase. Females deposit 200–500 eggs in batches on the inside of oyster shells (Francis et al. 2004). 


Of no interest to fisheries.


  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern
  • Author

    Dianne J. Bray

    Oyster Blenny, Omobranchus anolius (Valenciennes 1836)


    Chao, N.L., McEachran, J., Patzner, R.A. & Williams, J. 2010. Omobranchus anolius. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 3 March 2012.

    Francis, M.P., Smith, P.J., Walsch, C., and Gomon, M.F. 2004. First records of the Australian blenny, Omobranchus anolius, from New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38: 671-679.

    Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. and Kuiter, R.H. 1994. The fishes of Australia's south coast. State Print, Adelaide, Australia.

    Neira, F.J., Miskiewicz, A.G. and Trnski, T. 1998. Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: laboratory guide for larval fish identification. University of Western Australia Press.

    Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. and Steene, R.C. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.

    Springer, V.G. and Gomon, M.F. 1975. Revision of the blenniid fish genus Omobranchus with descriptions of three new species and notes on other species of the tribe Omobranchini. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 177: 135.

    Thomson, J.M. & Bennett, A.E. 1953. The oyster blenny, Omobranchus anolius (Valenciennes) (Blenniidae). Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 4: 227-233.

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37408058

    Depth:0-10 m


    Habitat:Intertidal in mussel & oyster shells

    Max Size:9 cm


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