Blue-head Reefgoby, Priolepis cyanocephala Hoese & Larson 2010

A Blue-head Reefgoby, Priolepis cyanocephala, at Clovelly, New South Wales, Australia, January 1977, depth 12 m - image of live holotype. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A yellowish goby with a bluish head, distinct scale margins, four vertical bands on the head, and no bands on the body.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Priolepis cyanocephala in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

Blue-head Reefgoby, Priolepis cyanocephala Hoese & Larson 2010

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Sydney, New South Wales, and the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea.


Dorsal fin spines VI + I, 10; Anal fin I, 9; Pectoral fin 19
Bony interorbital trench absent, eyes elevated well above the interorbital region forming a non-bony trench; head broader than deep, distinctly depressed; predorsal largely naked with body scales extending forward to just above pectoral origin to just above posterior quarter of operculum; opercular scales absent; pelvic fins connected to form plate, no interspinal membrane; cheek sensory papillae a reduced transverse pattern; mouth oblique, forming an angle of about 35°-40° with body axis.


Species of the genus Priolepis form monogamous pairs, and are capable of bidirectional sex change. In laboratory experiments with female-female pairs, the larger individual changed sex to male, and in male-male pairs, the smaller changed to female. The gonads of these species simultaneously formed ovarian and testicular portions with an accessory gonadal structure (Manabe et al. 2013). 

Similar Species

The Blue-head Reefgoby differs from other species of Priolepis in having a reduced transverse papilla pattern, second dorsal-fin rays I, 10, the predorsal largely naked, and the head with vertical bands, but no bands on the body.


The specific name cyanocephala is from the Greek cyano (= blue) and cephalus (= head), in reference to the blue head of this species.

Species Citation

Priolepis cyanocephala Hoese & Larson  2010, Ichthyological Research 57: figs 2, 5c, d. Type locality: Clovelly, Sydney, New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Australian Faunal Directory

Blue-head Reefgoby, Priolepis cyanocephala Hoese & Larson 2010


Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2 (as Quisquilius sp. 3)

Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. 2010. Description of two new species of the genus Priolepis from the Indo-Pacific with redescription of Priolepis profunda and Priolepis psygmophilia. Ichthyological Research 57: 373-388

Manabe H, Toyoda K., Nagamoto K., Dewa S.I., Sakurai M., Hagiwara K., Shinomiya A. & Sunobe T. 2013. Bidirectional sex change in seven species of Priolepis (Actinopterygii: Gobiidae). Bulletin of Marine Science 89(2): 635-642.

Winterbottom, R. & Burridge, M. 1993. A new species of Priolepis (Teleostei; Gobiidae) from the Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean, with comments on relationships. Canadian Journal of Zoology 71: 2077-2079 (as Priolepis DFH sp. 3)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428403


Depth:12-27 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:3 cm SL


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