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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes > Family Blennidae
Variable fang-blenny
Petroscirtes variabilis

Family Blenniidae
updated Sep 2020
Where seen? This small elongated fish is sometimes encountered on our Southern shores, among seagrasses and seaweeds. Sometimes seen hiding in large snail shells, fan clam shells and litter, where it appears to be guarding eggs laid on the hard surface.

Features: Those seen 5-7cm long, grows up to 15cm. Body elongated flattened sideways, snout blunt squarish. Lower jaw has a pair of long curved fangs. It lacks scales. Dorsal fin continuous along the body length which it holds up rather handsomely when alarmed. Colours usually a dull olive green with pale markings, some brighter green. Underside yellow. Six large irregular dark blotches along upper side. Males are orange-brown while females are sea-green above and lighter below.

Pulau Semakau, Dec 05

Changi, Jul 07

Pair of long curved fangs on lower jaw.
Cyrene Reef, May 08
What does it eat? According to FishBase, it eats mainly small crustaceans and occasionally nips off scales from other fishes. According to Kuiter, it scrapes algae off broad seagrasses.

Watch the fangs! This little fish has sharp teeth and can nip a naked hand or finger. In some places, it is called the Variable sabretooth blenny. Don't touch the fish!


Blenny babies: It lays adhesive eggs. It has been seen to guard eggs laid inside empty Fan shell clams and other large empty snail shells. Once, a pair were seen with the eggs.

Guarding eggs in an empty Fan shell clam.
Terumbu Pempang Tengah, May 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

Close up of the eggs: about to hatch?!


Guarding eggs laid inside a large snail shell.
Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

A pair seen with eggs inside an empty Fan shell clam.
Terumbu Semakau, Apr 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

Variable fang-blennies on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores


Labrador, Nov 18
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Sentosa Serapong, May 16
Photo shared by Ivan Kwan on facebook.


St John's Island, Jan 20
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

St. John's Island, Oct 11
Photo shared by Rene Ong on facebook.

 

St John's Island, Oct 20
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.


Big Sisters Island, Jan 20
Photo shared by Rene Ong on facebook.

Cyrene, Sep 20
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.
 


Terumbu Semakau, Apr 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his flickr.

Links

References

  • Kuiter, Rudie H. 2002. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia: A Comprehensive Reference for Divers & Fishermen New Holland Publishers. 434pp.
  • Lieske, Ewald and Robert Myers. 2001. Coral Reef Fishes of the World Periplus Editions. 400pp.
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