Petroscirtes variabilis   Cantor,  1850 (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: National museum of nature and science

Size: 12.5-15 cm.

Color: The plain form is mainly green and has numerous tiny pearly spots. Sexually dimorphic, males are orange-brown while females are sea-green dorsally and lighter below. A broad black or bluish black band extending from eye to caudal. A row of light blotches along the bodies. The outer edge of dorsal fin is red; edge of anal fin is white and end of caudal fin is red. Some color forms are probably habitat related.

Elongated body; depth 5.0 to 5.3 in total length. Height 5-5.3, 5.6-6.2 in length with caudal. Head 3.7-3.8, 4.1-4.4 in length with caudal. Eye 3-3.3. Snout five sevenths of eye. Inter orbital space six sevenths of eye. Mouth terminal, extending to vertical through front margin of pupil in large specimens. Lower canines strong. upper canines very small. Gill opening a short crescent-shaped oblique fissure, just above and a little in front of the pectoral base. Two small tentacles on chin, not always present. A short simple orbital tentacle and a small one on nape, above gill opening. Origin of dorsal above or somewhat behind vertical through hind border of preopercle. First dorsal ray a little shorter than the others, which are nearly equal, and as long as post orbital part of head, the last dorsal ray is connected by a triangular membrane to the posterior part of the caudal peduncle. The anal commences opposite the twelfth dorsal ray, it resembles the dorsal, but the rays are a little shorter. Pectorals equal to post orbital part of head and half diameter of eye, and slightly less than the ventrals, the middle ray of which is the longest and broader than the posterior one. Caudal slightly rounded. The lateral line proceeds from the posterior part of the opercle obliquely upwards to about the fifth dorsal ray, from whence it follows close to the base of the fin towards the eleventh ray, when it turns for a short distance obliquely downwards and suddenly terminates. Dorsal spines (total): 10-11, Dorsal soft rays (total): 16-19, Anal spines: 2, Anal soft rays: 16-19.

Dioecious with external fertilization. Oviparous, distinct pairing, guarders, nesters.

The fish is usually found in seagrass beds.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Petroscirtes variabilis Cantor, 1850
Petroscirtes variabilis de Beaufort and Chapman, 1951
Dasson variabilis (Cantor, 1849)
(Senior synonym)
Petroscirtes variabilis Cantor, 1849
(Senior synonym)
Petroscrites variabilis Cantor, 1849
Petroscirtes cynodon Peters, 1855
Petroscirtes variabilis Gunther, 1861
Petroscirtes variabilis Day, 1876
Petroscirtes variabilis Macleay, 1881
Petroscirtes variabilis Jatzow and Lenz, 1899
Petroscirtes variabilis Barnard, 1927
Petroscirtes variabilis Herre, 1939
Petroscirtes variabilis Blegvad, 1944

Common Name (s)
• Variable Fangblenny (English)
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Demersal
Trophic Level:  Secondary Consumer
Prey:  Feed primarily on small crustaceans and occasionally on scales from fishes.


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Nicobar Island (Lat: 7) (Long: 93) INDIA
• West Bengal, Bakkhali INDIA (Record: 05/03/1985)
• Kerala, Kozhikode INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Nicobar Islands INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • James, C; O'Farrell, S; Hamylton, S; Ingwersen, C and Walker, R The coral reef resources of Mu Ko Surin national park, Thailand Coral Cay Conservation Available at -
  • Hutomo, M and Martosewojo, S (1977) The fishes of seagrass community on the west side of Burung island (Pari Islands, Seribu Islands) and their variations in abundance Marine Research in Indonesia 17 147-172 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • (1994) The effect of artificial reef installation on the biosocioeconomics of small scale fisheries in Ranong province, Thailand Bay of Bengal Programme Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Allen, GR and Mohammed, A (2003) Coral Reef Fishes of Indonesia Zoological Studies 42(1) 26299 Available at - Digital Information Resource Center, Pune.
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Mukherjee, P (1995) Intertidal fishes Estuarine ecosystem series, Part 2: Hugli Matla Estuary ZSI, Calcutta 345-388 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Beaufort, LF and Chapman, WM (1951) The fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago A. J. Reprints agency, Karol Bagh, New Delhi 9 484 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • National museum of nature and science Available at -
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean; (Fishing area 51). FAO, Rome 1 Available at -

Page last updated on:2010-04-08

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