Violet Soldierfish (species: Myripristis violacea) in ALA: Lizard Island (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Myripristis violacea
Violet Soldierfish

©Andy Lewis: An adult Violet Soldierfish
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Beryciformes
Family Holocentridae
Genus Myripristis
Species Myripristis violacea



Distinguishing features

A medium sized reddish fish with very large eyes. The red edges to the fins with white leading edges, and the reddish line on the rear of the operculum are diagnostic characters. During the daytime usually seen singly or in small groups hovering head down near or in caves and coral overhangs.


  • Up to 35 cm (Standard length)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Areas of branching coral are the daytime resting sites. Roams over the reef at night time to feed.

Can be found in most locations around the island, although prefers lagoonal areas.


An active nocturnal predator on large crustacean zooplankton such as crab and shrimp larvae, these fish rest near shelter during the day and are quite shy. They reach maturity at about 6 years of age. The liver of these fishes contains exceptionally high levels of zinc, which seems to be related to the normal metabolic processes.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen and R.C. Steene (1990). Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Other references

  • Hogstrand, C. and C. Haux (1996). Naturally high levels of zinc and metallothionein in liver of several species of the squirrelfish family from Queensland, Australia, Marine Biology, 125: 23-31. LIRS catalog number 90055.