Eastern Blue Devil Fish

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

 

Eastern Blue Devilfish

Eastern Blue Devilfish

The Eastern Blue Devil Fish (Paraplesiops bleekeri) is also known as the Bleeker's Blue Devil Fish and is one of the most beautiful fish species in Australian waters.  It is a shy, secretive fish that can be found living inside caves and under ledges in inshore reefs of NSW estuaries and offshore waters from depths of 3 to 40 metres. It occurs on the east coast from southern Queensland to Montague Island, but is most common in NSW from Port Stephens southwards to Ulladulla. Within the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park it can occasionally be seen on the rocky reefs of Broughton Island and Seal Rocks and there is also one that resides at the Halifax Park divesite.

They are fecund breeders, however juveniles are rarely seen. They are often solitary and are most active during the night however little is known about their diet. The Eastern Blue Devil Fish is a protected fish species in New South Wales, and there are heavy penalties for taking, selling or possessing them. This species is popular with divers and photographers because of its striking iridescent blue and yellow markings which looking stunning when lit up by the flashes of underwater photographers.

The Eastern Blue Devil Fish is most easily recognised by its banded pattern of blue and white strips on the body, blue spotted head, blue dorsal and anal fins and yellow caudal (tail) fin and base and pectoral fins. It is thought that the male defends a territory in a cave or overhang in order to attract a mate and will drive other males away. This fish is known to mate in spring and the breeding season for the Eastern Blue Devil is between the months of October and March. The species lays its eggs in a group or nest that is glued to the roof of a cave until they hatch. The Eastern Blue Devilfish grows to 40cm in length.  The Eastern Blue Devil Fish is very closely related to the Southern Blue Devilfish (Paraplesiops meleagris) that is found in the cooler waters of southern Australia.

David Harasti is the Research Scientist with the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park
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Southern Devilfish

Southern Devilfish

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  • NSW Government
  • National Parks & Wildlife Service NSW