More About Blennies

Xiphasia setifer, also know as the snake blennyA Very Unusual Blenny – The Snake Blenny – Xiphasia setifer, a.k.a., Eel Blenny, Hairtail Blenny or Snake Eel Blenny, this Indo-Pacific species is one of my favorites because it is so unusual. We encounter them occasionally, because we frequent their turf – mucky or sandy bottoms. It is difficult to get good footage because they are either entrenched in their burrows or swimming back really fast to escape from us! I shot this video years ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, when I found one out feeding:

The Scooter Blenny is actually a dragonet!



When is a Blenny not a Blenny? When it is a Scooter Blenny. Although blennydom should be happy to count such a lovely little fish among its members, the Scooter Blenny is not a blenny – it is a dragonet.



A Convict Blenny is not a blenny. Even we are guilty of perpetuating this name. Pholidichthys leucotaenia is not a blenny (nor a goby); it is in fact in its own family. The correct common name is Convict Fish. I am obsessed with this fish and will write a complete post about them later. There are lots of photos of the adult on the internet - taken mostly in aquariums. I understand from my aquarist friends that they are much more colorful and not as cryptic as the adults in the wild. Here are photos of the juveniles and the very much larger (and dark) adult:

Adult Convict Fish, Pholidichthys leucotaenia, cleaning its burrow.

Juvenile Convict Fish, Pholidicthys leucotaenia, return to their burrow.










Blenny Invader: The Pacific Red Lionfish has received a lot of press for its unwelcome presence in the Western Atlantic but blennies have also invaded and become established. The Muzzled Blenny, Omobranchus punctatus, a native of the Indo-Pacific, has been reported from the Atlantic, Caribbean, eastern Africa and Mediterranean. The first record of the blenny in the Caribbean was in 1931 when it was described as a new species, based on a specimen from Trinidad. That was corrected in 1975 when the 1931 specimen was found to be O. punctatus. Known also from Panama, Colombia, Trinidad, Tobago and Brazil, the blenny is believed to have been introduced by ship, possibly in ballast water or barnacles.

Thanks for visiting! I’ll post more bits about blennies soon, so please check back in from time to time. Want to tell us about your blenny sightings? Visit our BlennyWatcher FaceBook page and “Like” us.

7 comments to More About Blennies

  • Sol Foo

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for inviting me to your site! I love it! Especially the videos!! Keep it coming! :o )

    Best regards,

  • admin

    Greetings Sol,
    Thanks for visiting. I have lots of videos to share!

  • Could I ask you if this is photo ( is a Redspotted Blenny? I took this photo with my iphone while snorkeling off the Cambodian coast. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Ben, it doesn’t quite look like the Red-spotted to me. The ones I’ve seen have a more distinctive face profile and when out of their holes have a smoother set of markings on their sides. That said, it is tough to identify from one photo. It does look like a Blenniella of some kind – maybe one of the rockskippers?

  • Mercedes

    I am fascinated with blennies! It all started three days ago when I was flipping through a book of marine life and came upon the most /wonderful/ sight. A BLENNY! :D I thought it was beautiful, anyway. Also, I did not know that the scooter blenny wasn’t a Blenny at all, but a dragonet. I thought the dragonets and Blennies were very closely related?

  • Dave with Emeritus

    Once I received your email I decided to check out you page. I find it very interesting and I enjoy the educational piece of it. Learned something new about Blennies. I use to Scuba and it makes me want to get back to it after my kids grow up.

    • Thanks Dave! Scuba is such a wonderful portal to the underwater world that we started this blog to share the fun with divers and non-divers alike. Hope you’ll get back to it one of these days! ~ Anna

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