Paradise Threadfin Bream, Pentapodus paradiseus (Günther 1859)

Other Names: Blue-banded Whiptail, Blue-faced Whiptail, Butterfly Bream, China Fish, Long-tail Perch, Paddy, Paradise Butterfish, Paradise Whiptail, Paradise-fish, Rainbow, Rainbow Paradise Fish, Whiptail

A Paradise Threadfin Bream Pentapodus paradiseus, at North Stradbroke Island, Queensland. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A pale brownish threadfin bream becoming whitish below with three bluish stripes across the snout, first joining eyes behind nostrils, second in front of nostrils, third from eye to tip of snout, a blue stripe along the dorsal-fin base, a yellow to orange stripe from behind the eye to the upper pectoral-fin base, and a yellow stripe from the middle of the upper lip running below the eye to below the pectoral fin. The upper lobe of the tail is produced into a very long filament.
Juveniles have a blue stripe along the back, and a black midlateral stripe bordered by a yellow stripe above and a white stripe below.

Video of Paradise Threadfin Bream, Threadfin Emperor (Lethrinus genivittatus) and juvenile Red Emperor (Lutjanus sebae) at a baited remote underwater video camera (BRUV).

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Pentapodus paradiseus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Sep 2023,

Paradise Threadfin Bream, Pentapodus paradiseus (Günther 1859)

More Info


Cape Arnhem, Northern Territory, to Sydney, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the west Pacific.
Occurs around reefs, with juveniles often in rubble areas.


Dorsal fin 10, 9; Anal fin III, 7. 
Head scales reaching forward to or almost to level of posterior nostrils. Suborbital naked. Lower limb of preopercle naked. Pelvic fins short, not reaching to level of anus. Upper lobe of caudal fin produced into a very long trailing yellowish-brown filament. Axillary scale present. 


Pale brownish above, whitish below; three bluish stripes across snout, first joining eyes behind nostrils, second in front of nostrils, third from eye to tip of snout; yellow stripe from behind eye to upper base of pectoral fin; yellow stripe from middle of upper lip, beneath eye to below pectoral fin.


Feeds on small fishes, crustaceans and polychaete worms.

Species Citation

Pentapus paradiseus Günther 1859, Catalogue Fishes British Museum 1: 383. Type locality (syntypes): Moreton Island, Australia; Polynesia; Sumatra or Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Paradise Threadfin Bream, Pentapodus paradiseus (Günther 1859)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

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

Allen, G.R., Erdmann, M.V & Brooks, W.M. 2018. Pentapodus berryae, a new species of Whiptail (Pisces: Nemipteridae) from Papua New Guinea. aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology 24(2): 81-88. See ref online

Castelnau, F.L. de 1875. Researches on the fishes of Australia. Intercolonial Exhibition Essays. 2. pp. 1–52 in, Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 : Official Record. Melbourne. (as Dentex filifer) See ref online

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp. (as Pentapodus setosus)

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp. 

Günther, A. 1859. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the acanthopterygian fishes in the collection of the British Museum. Gasterosteidae, Berycidae, Percidae, Aphredoderidae, Pristipomatidae, Mullidae, Sparidae. London : British Museum Vol. 1 524 pp. See ref at BHL

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

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. 

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

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

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. 

Richardson, J. 1843. Contributions to the ichthyology of Australia. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 1 11(71): 352-359 (as Labrus iris) See ref at BHL

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2 

Russell, B.C. 1990. FAO Species Catalogue. Nemipterid fishes of the World (Threadfin breams, Whiptail breams, Monocle breams, Dwarf monocle breams, and Coral breams — Family Nemipteridae). Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 12. Rome : FAO 149 pp. VIII pls. 

Russell, B.C. 2001. Nemipteridae. pp. 3051-3089 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37347028

Depth:3-70 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:30 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map