Solander's Toby, Canthigaster solandri (Richardson 1845)

Other Names: Netted Puffer, Spotted Sharpnose

A pair of Solander's Toby, Canthigaster solandri, at Ra, Fiji, November 2017. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A dark orange to brownish toby covered in pale spots with a yellowish belly, a black blotch on the dorsal-fin base usually edged in blue dorsally (may be ocellated in juveniles), head usually with about 8 to 10 dark lines radiating from the eye, cross-bands usually on interorbital and upper portion of the snout, and a brownish caudal fin with pale spots that may form wavy vertical lines on the outer part of the fin. This species usually lacks longitudinal blue lines between the eye and the dorsal-fin origin.
This species is easily confused with the Netted Toby, Canthigaster papua.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Canthigaster solandri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jul 2024,

Solander's Toby, Canthigaster solandri (Richardson 1845)

More Info


Northern Great Barrier Reef to about Sydney, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in Western-central Pacific.
Occurs on inshore and offshore reefs habitats, including reef flats, lagoons, seaward reefs and seagrass beds.


Dorsal fin 8-10; Anal fin 8-10. 


Head ground colour bright golden yellow or purplish, that of back and sides purplish brown; radiating lines about eye and on body light blue; chin and throat bright golden yellow, sometimes a faint yellowish  tinge extending posteriorly on belly; distal half to two-thirds of caudal  fin bright golden yellow, fin spotted, usually with dark-bordered light spots arranged in vertical rows, spots sometimes vertically elongated forming 5 to 7 broken vertical bars, especially distally on caudal fin; base of dorsal with a blue line transversely across rays, then a dark area/spot at base of dorsal fin sometimes ocellated, sometimes scarcely evident; if ocellated, the light line is rarely entire, being broken into curved oblong spots; then a broader blue transverse line proximally to point of articulation; a very thin light blue line transversely across base of pectoral-fin rays just distal to point of articulation of the rays; distal portions of dorsal, anal, and pectoral fins pale, sometimes dorsal with faint yellowish tinge.


Feeds mostly on filamentous red and green algae and coralline red algae, along with coral polyps, sponges, tunicates, molluscs, echinoderms, polychaete worms, crustaceans and bryozoans.


Males are larger than females and defend territories that include multiple females. Spawning occurs during the day, with females depositing their eggs into an algal nest.


Canthigaster petersii Allen & Erdmann 2012, replaces C. solandri in the Indian Ocean. 

Similar Species

The similar Canthigaster papua differs from C. solandri in having a more orange snout than the rest of the body, stripes along the back (vs. no stripes on C. solandri), usually a complete ocellus at the base of the dorsal fin in adults (vs. incomplete or indistinct ocellus in C. solandri - juveniles may have an ocellus), spots on the caudal fin (vs. an orange caudal fin with the spots on the distal half to two-thirds of the fin forming vertical blue stripes - less obvious in juveniles). C. papua has a dark abdomen, whereas C. solandri also has a more yellowish abdomen.


The species is named in honour of Swedish naturalist Daniel Solander who accompanied Captain Cook, and discovered this species during Cook’s first voyage. Solander subsequently described the species in an unpublished manuscript.

Species Citation

Tetrodon solandri Richardson 1845, in Hinds, R.B. (ed.) The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Sulphur under the Command of Captain Sir Edward Belcher, during the years 1836–42 Vol. 1(3): 125, pl. 57 (figs 4-6). Type locality: Polynesia.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Solander's Toby, Canthigaster solandri (Richardson 1845)


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

Allen, G.R. & Randall, J.E. 1977. Review of the Sharpnose Pufferfishes (subfamily Canthigasterinae) of the Indo-Pacific. Records of the Australian Museum 30(17): 475-517. (as Canthigaster papua and C. solandri - treated C. papua as a synonym of C. solandri)

Cole, A.J., Pratchett, M.S. & Jones, G.P. 2008. Diversity and functional importance of coral-feeding fishes on tropical coral reefs. Fish and Fisheries 9: 286-307.

Jordan, D.S. & Seale, A. 1906. The fishes of Samoa. Description of the species found in the Archipelago, with a provisional checklist of the fishes of Oceania. Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries (U.S.) for 1905 25: 173-455 figs 1-111 pls 33-53 

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. 

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 3. Jawfishes - Sunfishes, Opistognathidae - Molidae. Melbourne : Zoonetics pp. 623–893.

Matsuura, K., Bogorodsky, S.V., Mal, A.O. & Alpermann, T.J. 2020. Canthigaster aziz, a new deep-dwelling toby fish (Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae) from the Red Sea. Zootax. 4834(1): 81-95

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. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. (as Canthigaster papua - excluded C. solandri from Australia)

Richardson, J. 1845. Ichthyology. pp. 51-150, pls 35-64 in Hinds, R.B. (ed.) The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Sulphur under the Command of Captain Sir Edward Belcher, during the years 1836–42. London : Smith, Elder & Co. Vol. 1(3).

Shao, K., Liu, M., Jing, L., Hardy, G., Leis, J.L. & Matsuura, K. 2014. Canthigaster solandri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T193775A2275102. Accessed on 23 March 2022.

Stead, D.G. 1907. Note on a small collection of fishes from Suwarow Island. Department of Fisheries, New South Wales, Sydney 1-9, Pls. 1-2 (described as Canthigaster australis, type locality Anchorage Island, Suwarrow Islands, Cook Islands, SW Pacific)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37467073

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:10-36 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:11.5 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map