Yellowtail Fusilier (species: Caesio cuning) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Caesio cuning
Yellowtail Fusilier

©Andy Lewis: An adult Yellowtail Fusilier

©Andy Lewis: A school of juvenile Yellowtail Fusilier

©Andy Lewis: A school of adult Yellowtail Fusilier along the reef front near South Island
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Caesionidae
Genus Caesio
Species Caesio cuning



Distinguishing features

A medium to large blue fish with a yellow forked tail. Usually seen in schools feeding mid-water above areas of good coral growth.


  • Up to 25 cm (Standard length)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Feeds in the water column some 5-15m from the edge of the reef margin, favours areas with good water movement. Smaller fish are found in more sheltered areas with the large adults mainly along the exposed reef fronts.

Found in most reef habitats around the island.


This species is planktivorous, gathering into schools to feed on tiny crustacean zooplankton in the water column. The small juveniles aggregate with schools of yellow-tailed demoiselles, but then move into monospecific schools of their own species once they gain size. They are mature at 1 year of age and live to about 5 years.

Web resources


  • Ablan, C.M.A.A. (2006). Microsatellite loci for studies on population differentiation and connectivity of the red-bellied yellow tail fusilier, Caesio cuning (Caesionidae), Molecular Ecology Notes, 6: 170-172. LIRS catalog number 90031.
  • 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.
  • Carpenter, K.E. (1990). A phylogenetic analysis of the Caesionidae (Perciformes: Lutjanoidea), Copeia, 1990: 692-717. LIRS catalog number 90032.
  • View all references