Shorthead Sabretooth Blenny, Petroscirtes breviceps (Valenciennes 1836)

Other Names: Short-headed Sabre-tooth, Short-headed Sabretooth Blenny, Striped Poison-fang Blenny Mimic, Weed Blenny

A fight between two Shorthead Sabretooth Blennies, Petroscirtes breviceps, in Lembeh Strait, north Sulawesi, Indonesia, December 2014. Source: Daniel Kwok / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives

A yellow to whitish fangblenny with three dark stripes along the body, most notably a broad midlateral stripe from the snout to the caudal fin. Like other species in the genus Petroscirtes, the Shorthead Sabretooth Blenny has a pair of large fangs in the lower jaw used to defend itself. The blenny may bite if handled, however the fangs are not venomous.

This species mimics the Linespot Fangblenny, Meiacanthus grammistes, which possesses venomous fangs in the lower jaw (like all members of the genus (Meiacanthus).
Great video of a Shorthead Sabretooth Blenny showing its fangs.
Video of a Shorthead Sabretooth Blenny guarding its eggs in an empty worm tube at Dumaguete, Philippines.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Petroscirtes breviceps in Fishes of Australia, accessed 01 Dec 2023,

Shorthead Sabretooth Blenny, Petroscirtes breviceps (Valenciennes 1836)

More Info


Juveniles have been found beneath floating Sargassum.


Carnivore - feeds on benthic invertebrates, especially small crustaceans and diatoms. 


The sexes are separate, and females lay demersal adhesive eggs that are cared for by the male parent.

Species Citation

Blennechis breviceps Valenciennes, 1836, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 11: 283. Type locality: Gulf of Bengal.


Dianne J. Bray

Shorthead Sabretooth Blenny, Petroscirtes breviceps (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.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

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

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.

Shibata, J. & Kohda, M. 2006. Seasonal sex role changes in the blenniid Petroscirtes breviceps, a nest brooder with paternal care. Journal of Fish Biology 69(1): 203-214.

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

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

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37408071

Behaviour:Males protect the eggs

Depth:1-15 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:13 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map