Pholidichthys leucotaenia

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Pholidichthys leucotaenia
Pholidichthys leucotaenia 1.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cichliformes
Family: Pholidichthyidae
Genus: Pholidichthys
P. leucotaenia
Binomial name
Pholidichthys leucotaenia
Bleeker, 1856 [1]

Brotulophis argentistriatus Kaup, 1858 [1]

Pholidichthys leucotaenia, commonly known as the convict blenny/goby or the engineer blenny/goby, is a marine fish from the west-central Pacific Ocean. Despite it's common names, it is neither a blenny nor a goby, but is in fact one of two species in the family Pholidichthyidae.


Pholidichthys leucotaenia in a tank


A small eel-shaped fish, it can grow up to 60 cm (24 in) in length. Juveniles resemble the striped catfish Plotosus lineatus , which is venomous, having a black body with a white dorsal stripe. As they develop, the stripe changes to white convict-style barring or spotting in the adult.


Two P. leucotaenia Pholidichthys leucotaenia, acuario.jpg
Two P. leucotaenia

P. leucotaenia lives in shallow lagoons and on coastal reefs from the Philippines to the Solomon Islands. It is often found in schools under ledges or around coral heads. These schools swim in such tight formations, they resemble a single organism. Occasionally, the species is found in the aquarium trade, where it is known for disrupting all but the most stable structures. [2]

DNA analyses show this species to be neither a blenny nor a goby, but part of a separate fish family, the Pholidichthyidae. [3]

In the Solomon Islands, researchers under Eugenie Clark found juveniles emerging from holes in the seafloor and adjoining coral reefs. By day, these juveniles swim up to 50 m (55 yd) from their home burrows to feed on plankton. At the end of the day, all returned to the burrows, remarkable and unique behaviour for larval fish.

While their young are out feeding, the parents eject mouthfuls of debris from the burrows. In a single day as much as 3 kg (6.6 lb) of sand might be collected and spat out of the hole by the parents. [4] Research has revealed a maze of tunnels and chambers totaling a length of some 6 m. At night, young fish dangle by their mouths from the roof of the tunnels by thin mucous threads.

Adults may grow to almost 60 cm (24 in), [3] but never leave the tunnels to feed. They frequently take in mouthfuls of juveniles and spit them out again. An inspection of adult stomachs showed only a green slime. [3]

Related Research Articles

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Black-ray goby Species of fish

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<i>Nemateleotris magnifica</i> Species of fish

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<i>Ostorhinchus compressus</i> Species of fish

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Coral reef fish Fish which live amongst or in close relation to coral reefs

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Coastal fish

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Fish intelligence

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Bluestriped fangblenny Species of fish

Plagiotremus rhinorhynchos, commonly called the bluestriped fangblenny, is a species of combtooth blenny found in coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian ocean. This species reaches a length of 12 centimetres (4.7 in) SL. It is also known as the bluestriped blenny, bluestriped sabretooth blenny, blunt-nose blenny, cleaner mimic, tube-worm blenny or the two-stripe blenny. They hide in deserted worm tubes or other small holes.

<i>Ecsenius axelrodi</i> Species of fish

Ecsenius axelrodi, known commonly as the Axelrod's clown blenny or the Axelrod's combtooth blenny, is a species of ray-finned fish in the family Blenniidae, the combtooth blennies. It is found in shallow water on coral reefs in the western central Pacific Ocean. It was first described by Victor Gruschka Springer in 1988 and named in honour of the American ichthyologist Herbert Richard Axelrod.

<i>Rhinogobiops</i> Genus of fishes

Rhinogobiops nicholsii, the blackeye goby, is a species of true goby in the family Gobiidae. It is the sole species classified under the genus Rhinogobiops. They are common inhabitants of coral reefs and rocky habitats along the Eastern Pacific Ocean coasts of Mexico, the United States, and Canada, although they are hardly noticed, as they often rest motionless near their shelters. Other common names for the species include bluespot goby and crested goby.

Blue blanquillo Species of fish

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<i>Valenciennea helsdingenii</i> Species of fish

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<i>Amblygobius semicinctus</i> Species of fish

Amblygobius semicinctus, the halfbarred goby , is a species of goby from family Gobiidae.

<i>Trimma nasa</i> Species of fish

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Cichliformes Order of fishes

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  1. 1 2 Bailly, N. (2010). Bailly N (ed.). "Pholidichthys leucotaenia Bleeker, 1856". FishBase . World Register of Marine Species . Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  2. Fenner, Bob. "Convict Blennies, Family Pholidichthyidae". Wet Web Retrieved 2011-03-13.
  3. 1 2 3 Kaufmann, Carol (June 2005). "Research & Exploration: Clues From a Convict". National Geographic Interactive Edition. National Geographic Society.
  4. Life by BBC, 2009, pg 64, ISBN   978 1846076428