Redspotted Rockskipper
Redspotted Rockskipper

Redspotted Rockskipper

Istiblennius chrysospilos

Redspotted Rockskipper

The Redspotted Rockskipper is also known under the names Redspotted Rock Skipper, Redspotted Blenny, and Orange-spotted Blenny. It belongs to the family Blenniidae, the combtooth blennies.

If you look for information about Istiblennius chrysospilos in older sources, you might encounter the following synonyms:

Alticus evermanni
Istiblennius chrysospilos
Istiblennius chrysospilos insulinus
Istiblennius insulinus
Salarias aureopuncticeps
Salarias chrysospilos
Salarias coronatus
Salarias belemnites
Salarias bryani
Salarias unimaculatus

The Redspotted Rockskipper has not been evaluated for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Geographical distribution, habitat and habits  

The Redspotted Rockskipper is found in the Indo-Pacific. Its geographical range stretches from the eastern coast of Africa to the Society Islands in the south Pacific, north to the Ryukyu Islands of Japan, and south to about 24°S.

The typical Redspotted Rockskipper habitat consists of clear coastal reef flats and this species is often found in exposed habitats. It has adapted well to a life in this type of habitats and can for instance survive on outer intertidal reef flats and surge-swept seaward reefs.

The Redspotted Rockskipper will spend most of its time grazing algae off hard surfaces or resting on the substrate. It appreciates environments with prolific algal growth, but will also feed on detritus and tiny invertebrates. This species will frequently stay hidden inside small holes on the reef with only its head sticking out.    

Size and appearance

The Redspotted Rockskipper can reach a length of roughly 10 cm / 4 in. The body is red and white with bright blue and orange or reddish spots, hence the common names red-spotted / orange-spotted rockskipper.

Keeping Redspotted Rockskipper in the aquarium

The Redspotted Rockskipper is an appreciated aquarium fish among saltwater aquarists. The key to successfully keeping this species is to place it in an aquarium with prolific micro-algae growth. This allows the fish to carry out its natural behaviours and will also provide it with a constant source of nutrients. As long as the Redspotted Rockskipper has access to thriving micro-algae, it is a very sturdy aquarium inhabitant that does not require much pampering. Ideally wait until you have a well-established  and stable aquarium before getting a Redspotted Rockskipper. In fact, quite a few aquarists keep the Redspotted Rockskipper to control micro-algae in their reef aquariums.  

The Redspotted Rockskipper is considered reef compatible with caution, because it can nip at stony coral polyps and clam mantles.

It will do best in an aquarium where there is plenty of rock work, because it likes to hide in small holes with only its head sticking out. This fish should not be kept in aquariums smaller than 30 gallons / 115 litres. The recommended temperature range for Redspotted Rockskippers is 72-78º F / 22-25.5º C. The specific gravity should be between 1.020-1.025 and the pH-value from 8.1 to 8.4.

The Redspotted Rockskipper is generally a peaceful fish, but it can attack members of its own species as well as other blennies. It is safest to keep only one Redspotted Rockskipper in your aquarium unless you have a mated pair. If the aquarium is very large and cleverly decorated, it can be possible to keep several Redspotted Rockskippers without much aggression since they can stay away from each other just like they would do in the wild.

Feeding Redspotted Rockskippers

As mentioned above, the Redspotted Rockskipper feeds primarily on micro algae but can also eat detritus and small invertebrates. It is very important to allow micro algae to grow naturally in the aquarium when keeping Redspotted Rockskippers, because they become overly sensitive and susceptible to poor health without this natural source of food. You can supplement the naturally occurring algae with marine and blue-green algae and vegetable matter such as blanched vegetables and prepared foods for herbivore fish.  

Breeding Redspotted Rockskippers

The Redspotted Rockskipper is an egg-laying species with adhesive eggs.

Blenny articles

Highfin Blenny – A guide to caring for Atrosalarias fuscus
Bicolor Blenny – A guide to caring for Ecsenius bicolor
Midas Blenny – A guide to caring for Ecsenius midas
Redlip Blenny – A guide to caring for Ophioblennius atlanticus
Lawnmower Blenny – A guide to caring for Salarias fasciatus


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