Animal Species:Dwarf Lionfish, Dendrochirus brachypterus (Cuvier, 1829)
The Dwarf Lionfish is a small species that has distinct spotted bands on the pectoral fins. It occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters of the Indo-Pacific region.
The Dwarf Lionfish has large pectoral fins with distinct spotted bands. There is usually a short tentacle above the eye and variably developed leafy appendages on the head and lateral line.
The 13 venomous dorsal spines are about the same length or slightly shorter than the greatest body depth.
Body colouration is variable from red to brown.
The species grows to about 15 cm in length.
The Dwarf Lionfish looks similar to the Zebra Lionfish, Dendrochirus zebra. The easiest way to tell them apart is by the lack of spotted bands crossing the pectoral fins of the Zebra Lionfish.
It is known from marine waters of the Indo-Pacific. In Australia it occurs from south-western Western Australia around the tropical north and south to southern New South Wales.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
It occurs on coastal reefs and in estuaries.
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology