A close relative of the similar McCulloch’s scalyfin, the Victorian scalyfin is also one of the largest damselfishes in Australia. Juveniles are difficult to distinguish between other species in the genus, due to their almost identical appearance. They have a bright golden yellow body, with electric blue vertical stripes on the dorsal surface and a blue-edged black ocellus or ‘false eye’ in the dorsal fin. Adult Victorian scalyfin vary in colouration from yellow to grey, there is a characteristic lateral line of pale spots, and pale bands on the side of the head. Large males tend to be almost black. Both males and females have a fine iridescent blue line around the body margin.
Similarly to most damselfish, the Victorian Scalyfin is aggressively territorial, and will defend the area around its home crevice which often has an associated algae patch which is continuously grazed upon by the individual. They also feed in invertebrates. Male scalyfin are responsible for guarding eggs. They occur in southern Australian waters on coral reefs and rocky eastuaries from the shallow intertidal to depths of 25 metres from Dongara, WA to Victoria and around Tasmania. The Victorian Scalyfin grows to a maximum length of 25 centimetres.
Other common names include: Scalyfin, rock perch.
Occurrence on the Busselton Jetty:
Victorian scalyfin are a common species observed from the underwater observatory. A solitary species, individuals of all life stages are seen flitting around the invertebrate adorned jetty piles occasionally feeding, and often observed chasing other fish particularly those larger than themselves. The juveniles are difficult to distinguish between juveniles of the McCulloch’s scalyfin, which both display an almost identical colour pattern.