Beautiful Rockskipper, Istiblennius bellus (Günther 1861)

An illustration of a male Beautiful Rockspipper, Istiblennus bellus, from Efate, New Hebrides - USNM 293738. Source: J.R. Schroeder / Smithsonian Institution, Division of Fishes, USNM. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

A rockskipper with 7-8 irregular dark divided bars on sides. Females are covered in small dark spots. 
The species occurs at the Australian Territory of Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Istiblennius bellus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Dec 2022,

Beautiful Rockskipper, Istiblennius bellus (Günther 1861)

More Info


Recorded from the Australian territory of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Indo-west-central Pacific: from the coast of Africa, to the Marquesas in the Central Pacific. Inhabits the intertidal zone on rocky shorelines, and individuals may be seen "skipping" from one rock pool to another.


Dorsal fin XII-XIV, 20-22; Anal fin II, 20-22. 


Males with several paired bands on the body; spots from mouth to nape and posterior part of body; dusky stripes on segmented portion of dorsal fin. Females with dusky bands on body; head, body and fins (except pelvic fins) covered with fine dark speckles.

Species Citation

Salarias bellus Günther, 1861, Cat. Fishes Brit. Mus. 3: 256. Type locality: China seas. (possibly in error). 


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Beautiful Rockskipper, Istiblennius bellus (Günther 1861)


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

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Günther, A. 1861. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the acanthopterygian fishes in the collection of the British Museum. London : British Museum Vol. 3 586 pp. See ref at BHL

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S.J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Checklist and new records of Christmas Island fishes: the influence of isolation, biogeography and habitat availability on species abundance and community composition. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 184–202 See ref online, open access

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Smith, J.L.B. 1959. Fishes of the families Blenniidae and Salariidae of the western Indian Ocean. Ichthyological Bulletin, Department of Ichthyology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 14: 227-252 figs 1-16 pls 14-18

Springer, V.G. & Williams, J.T. 1994. The Indo-west Pacific blenniid fish genus Istiblennius reappraised: a revision of Istiblennius, Blenniella, and Paralticus, new genus. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 565: 1-193 DOI:  Open access

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.

Williams, J.T. 2014. Istiblennius bellus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T48342134A48364026. Downloaded on 14 June 2018.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37408109


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-20 m

Habitat:Rocky shorelines

Max Size:13 cm SL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map