Snake Convict Blenny, Pholidichthys anguis Springer & Larson 1996

Black & white image of the holotype of the Snake Convict Blenny, Pholidichthys anguis. Source: Fig. 2 in Springer & Larson (1996) Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 109(2). License: Public Domain

A brown snake blenny with a series of dark diffuse blotches along the back from behind the eye, three pairs of oval spots on the abdomen continuing as a series of dusky spots along the lower side, and dusky fins with darker margins. Juveniles have a narrow dark midlateral stripe and a dark stripe on the head from behind the eye to just below the dorsal-fin base. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Pholidichthys anguis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 Jan 2022,

Snake Convict Blenny, Pholidichthys anguis Springer & Larson 1996

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Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, Western Australia, to SE of Saibai, Island, Torres Strait, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Guinea.
Inhabits muddy areas with sand, shell, sponges, and patches of rocky and coral reefs.


Dorsal fin 86-98; Anal fin 70-81; Pectoral fin 14-15; Pelvic fin I,2-3; Caudal fin 10 (5+5); Vertebrae 23-28 + 64-75 = 90-101.
Body slender,  depth of slender, 



Adult female: Body tan colored; head dusky with a darker, diffuse dusky blotch behind the eye, blotch continuing on body as indistinct series of moderately large, diffuse ovoid to elongate ovoid brownish dusky areas or spots on the upper body, that become unrecognizable at about middle of body; three horizontal pairs of dusky ovoid spots on abdomen continuing as series of ~20 diffuse dusky spots along lower partbody below midlevel, ending on posterior half of body; dorsal and anal fins variably dusky, with distal edge of each darker, both fins becoming much darker near posterior end, where they join darkly dusky caudal fin. Pectoral and pelvic fins pale dusky; large yellow eggs are visible through the transparent abdomen.

Juveniles have a slender dark midlateral stripe, that decreases in depth to caudal-fin base, then extends diffusely to the end of the fin; a slender, dark stripe dorsally on head from postorbital margin to just below dorsal-fin base, tapering and becoming fainter posteriorly towards rear of body.


The specific name is from the Latin anguis (snake) in reference to the elongate form of the species.

Species Citation

Pholidichthys anguis Springer & Larson 1996, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 109(2): .355, figs 1-3. Type locality: West-southwest of Angurugu, Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory, Australia, 14°05'S, 136°15'E, depth 19 metres. 


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Snake Convict Blenny, Pholidichthys anguis Springer & Larson 1996


Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293.

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84.

Springer, V.G. 2001. Pholidichthyidae. 3500 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. 

Springer, V.G. & Larson, H.K. 1996. Pholidichthys anguis, a new species of pholidichthyid fish from Northern Territory and Western Australia. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 109(2): 353-365. See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37397001

Depth:19-70 m

Habitat:Muddy areas

Max Size:24.5 cm SL

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