Enneapterygius pusillus Rüppell, 1835
Highcrest triplefin
Enneapterygius pusillus
photo by Randall, J.E.

Family:  Tripterygiidae (Triplefin blennies), subfamily: Tripterygiinae
Max. size:  3 cm SL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  demersal; marine; depth range 3 - 20 m
Distribution:  Western Indian Ocean: restricted, Persian Gulf (Ref.80050); Red Sea south to northern Natal, South Africa and east to India.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 15-17; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10-11; Anal spines: 1-1; Anal soft rays: 20-21. This species is distinguished by the following characters: D III + XII-XIV (usually XIII) + 10-11; A I, 20-21; pectoral rays 13-14: 3-4 + 3-4 + 6-7 (usually 14:4+3+6). LL, pored scales 12, notched scales 25-28, starting at 2 scale rows below the end of the pored series; total lateral scales 29-30; transverse scales 2/4; nape and abdomen scaleless, dorsal and anal fin bases also without scales. Body depth 5.3-6.0 in SL. Head 3.6-3.9 in SL; eyes large, diameter 3.0-3.4 in head length; supraorbital/orbital cirrus small, lobate; supratemporal sensory canal U-shaped; dentary pores 2+2+2. Male first dorsal fin (sometimes more than twice) higher than second; equal in height in females. Key features are: first dorsal fin very tall; body translucent; first dorsal fin yellow; male chest and pelvic fins black, mouth corners red, eye spots deep blue below the eyes; females eye stripe brown below, pectoral-fin base also with brown stripe (Ref. 57774, 88983).
Biology:  Known from inshore continental waters (Ref. 12476). Adults inhabit bays and sheltered lagoons, close to reef base, on a silty sand or mud substrate, often on stones and dead corals of the same color. Eggs are hemispherical and covered with numerous sticky threads that anchor them in the algae on the nesting sites (Ref. 240). Larvae are planktonic which occur primarily in shallow, nearshore waters (Ref. 94114). This is the first tripterygiid that has been described from the Red Sea (Ref. 88983).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 07 May 2010 Ref. (124695)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

Entered by: Garilao, Cristina V. - 08.03.96
Modified by: Luna, Susan M. - 21.03.14

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