Eastern blue devil fish, Paraplesiops bleekeri, also known as Bleakers blue devil fish, are a shy, secretive fish found in caves, crevices and under ledges on inshore reefs and estuaries.
Eastern blue devil fish are distributed from southern Queensland to Montague Island on the NSW south coast.
Eastern blue devil fish are listed as a protected fish in NSW under the Fisheries Management Act 1994. Heavy penalties apply for taking or possessing them.
Eastern blue devil fish are most easily recognised by their banded pattern of blue and white stripes on the body, blue spotted head, blue dorsal and anal fins, and yellow tail fin and base and pectoral fins. The pelvic fins and rear dorsal and anal fins are elongated. When blue devil fish spread these fins they overlap, making the fish appear larger. The fish grows to 40 cm in length.
Juveniles are generally a less colourful dusky brown with less prominent stripes or general blue colouration. However, some blue spots on the head and the gill covers and a blue band around the edges of all fins are still prominent.
Taking or possessing Eastern blue devil fish (or any other species of protected fish) is an offence and heavy penalties apply. For corporations these penalties can include fines of up to
$55 000 while individuals can face fines of up to $11 000 and up to 3 months in prison.
For more information on general fishing regulations check with your local fisheries office or visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries
To contact your local NSW DPI Fisheries Office visit https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/contact-us/contact-a-dpi-fisheries-officer or phone 1300 550 474.
Hoese DF & Kuiter RH 1984, ‘A revision of the Australian fish genus Paraplesiops with notes on other Australian genera’, Records of the Australian Museum 36: 7–18.
Hutchins B & Swainston R 1986, Sea fishes of southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers, Swainston Publishing.
Kuiter RH 1993, Coastal fishes of south-eastern Australia, Crawford House Press, 437 pp.
Neira FJ, Miskiewicz AG & Trnski T 1998, Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: laboratory guide for larval fish identification, University of Western Australia Press, 474 pp.