Bluelined Rabbitfish (species: Siganus doliatus) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Siganus doliatus
Bluelined Rabbitfish

©Mark Shepherd: Bluelined Rabbitfish at Lizard Island

©Andy Lewis: A pair of Bluelined Rabbitfish

©Andy Lewis: A feeding school of Bluelined Rabbitfish in Mermaid Cove
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Siganidae
Genus Siganus
Species Siganus doliatus



Distinguishing features

A medium sized yellowish fish with fine vertical blue lines on the body, a yellow tail, and two dark bars through the head region. Usually seen in pairs, although this species will form large feeding schools.


  • Up to 25 cm (Standard length)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Shallow reef flat areas near good coral cover in lagoons and other sheltered backreef habitats.

Can be found in most locations around the island.


The Bluelined Rabbitfish is a roving herbivore, moving around the reef in pairs or schools and feeding on turf algae, seagrass and macroalgae. The large schools target the territories of herbivorous damselfishes, using their superior numbers to swamp the defenses of the Pomacentrids. They can quickly strip a territory of algae within a few minutes. This species spawns in groups during the warmer months, when fast running tidal currents coincide with dawn and dusk. They are mature at about 2 years of age, and the spawning takes place at a regular lunar phase, usually around the first quarter moon. There is little published information on the demography or ecology of the Siganidae, but they are likely to be long-lived fishes. Juveniles look similar to the adults, but are relatively uncommon.

Web resources


  • unspecified - The dorsal and ventral fin spines are poisonous, so care should be taken if handling this fish. First Aid - click here


References that assist with identification

  • Streit, R.P. and D.R. Bellwood (2017). High prevalence of homing behaviour among juvenile coral-reef fishes and the role of body size, Coral Reefs, 36(4): 1083-1095. LIRS catalog number 2091.

Other references

  • Arnal, C. (2000). Ecologie comportementale de la symbiose poisson nettoyeur/ poisson client: motivations et honnĂȘtetĂ©, Ph.D. thesis, University of Perpignan, France. LIRS catalog number 637.
  • Bellwood, D.R. (1988). Ontogenetic changes in the diet of early post-settlement Scarus species (Pisces: Scaridae), Journal of Fish Biology, 33: 213-219. LIRS catalog number 396.
  • View all references