Spine-cheek Anemonefish (species: Premnas biaculeatus) in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Premnas biaculeatus
Spine-cheek Anemonefish

©Lyle Vail: Premnas biaculeatus in anemone Entacmaea quadricolor at the lagoon bommie, Lizard Island.

©Andy Lewis: Spine-cheek anemonefish at Lizard Island

©Brogan Mancell: Premnas biaculeatus at Clam Garden, Lizard Island, with anemone Entacmaea quadricolor.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Pomacentridae
Genus Premnas
Species Premnas biaculeatus
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

A bright red to to dark brownish red fish with three narrow white or grey bars and all fins the same colour as the body. Males are much smaller than females and more brilliantly coloured - bright red with bright white bars. Females are darker and the bars may be indistinct as they are usually grey. The cheek has a pair of long spines but these are not easy to see in the field.


  • Up to 17 cm (Length of specimen)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia: Fairly common in the Lizard Island area


Lives exclusively with the anemone Entacmaea quadricolor.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Fautin, D.G. and G.R. Allen (1992). Field guide to anemonefishes and their host sea anemones Western Australian Museum, Perth, WA.

Other references

  • Arvedlund, M., I. Bundgaard and L.E. Nielsen (2000). Host imprinting in anemonefishes (Pisces: Pomacentridae): does it dictate spawning site preferences? Environmental Biology of Fishes, 58: 203-213. LIRS catalog number 600.
  • Buechler, K. (2005). An evaluation of geographic variation in the life history and behaviour of anemonefishes: a common-garden approach, Ph.D. thesis, James Cook University. LIRS catalog number 972.
  • View all references