Lowfinned Drummer (species: Kyphosus vaigiensis) in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Kyphosus vaigiensis
Lowfinned Drummer

©Kendall Clements: Kyphosus vaigiensis at Day Reef near Lizard Island.

©Mark Shepherd: Kyphosus vaigiensis at Lizard Island. Note that top edge of tail is in line with rear edge of anal fin.

©Kendall Clements: Kyphosus vaigiensis, Okinawa, Japan. This photo shows the typical colour pattern well.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Kyphosidae
Genus Kyphosus
Species Kyphosus vaigiensis



Distinguishing features

Taxonomy of the genus Kyphosus has a fairly complicated history. Four species are now known from the northern Great Barrier Reef, all listed in LIFG.

Prof. Kendall Clements (University of Auckland) advises that Kyphosus vaigiensis can be distinguished from the others in the field by: a gold bar under the eye, the low dorsal and anal fin rays, and gold scale rows along the body.


  • From 2.8 cm to 44.4 cm (standard length (Knudsen and Clements, 2013))

Depth range

  • From 1 m to 25 m



Confusion between some species of Kyphosus in the literature has been resolved by Knudsen and Clements (2013).

Kendall Clements confirms (in Dec 2016) that Kyphosus vaigiensis is correctly labelled in the following guides: Allen et al (2003), Randall (2005), and Allen and Erdmann (2012).

by Anne Hoggett


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island: Quite common in this area.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Allen and M.V. Erdmann, G.R. (2012). Reef fishes of the East Indies. Volumes I-III in: Reef fishes of the East Indies. Tropical Reef Research, Perth, Australia. LIRS catalog number 90162.
  • Allen, G., R. Steene, P. Humann and N. Deloach (2003). Reef fish identification: Tropical Pacific New World Publications Inc., Jacksonville, FL, USA.
  • Randall, J.E. (2005). Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific.: New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
  • View all references