Threefin Velvetfish

Neoaploactis Tridorsalis
Threefin Velvetfish - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Neoaploactis Tridorsalis
Family Velvetfish / Aploactinidae
Size Up to 5 cm (2 in)
Weight A few grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Shallow coastal waters amongst rubble & sandy areas near rocky reefs
Depth Range 3 - 30 m (98 ft)
Threefin Velvetfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Threefin Velvetfish are a species of reef fish found along the coast of Queensland, particularly the Great Barrier Reef. They are typically found in the shallow reef waters amongst sand and rubble. There are reports of them in Western Australia from Rottnest Island to Shark Bay.
  • The Threefin Velvetfish exhibits an overall colour that ranges from dark to pale grey or pale brown. It is marked with irregular white spots and blotches, particularly on the fins, adding to its unique appearance. A noticeable pale band can be found to the rear of the eyes, and in some individuals, the head may even take on an orange hue. These colorations contribute to its camouflage abilities in its natural habitat.
  • Their unique dorsal fin features are what gives the fish its name. The top fin, known as the dorsal fin, starts over the middle of the eye. The first part of this fin has four spines which are separated from the second part of the dorsal fin by scales. In the second part, there is a deep gap between the back spines, which makes it look like there are three separate top fins.
  • These small fish are carnivores, feeding on crustaceans and other smaller fish.
  • Due to their small size and elusive nature, there is limited information on their breeding behaviours and lifespan.
Species Interaction

Snorkeling & Diving, Elusive Species

The Threefin Velvetfish is a very elusive and difficult species to find. They prefer the sandy and rubble areas of reefs. Their small size and camouflage will require a keen eye to spot.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Scorpaeniformes

Family: Aploactinidae

Genus: Neoaploactis

Species: Neoaploactis Tridorsalis

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Threefin Velvetfish is not well-documented, but it is generally not considered a species of concern. Further research might be needed to determine its exact status.

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Difficult

Temperament: Shy

Location: Inner Reef, Lagoon

Danger: Dorsal & Pectoral Spine

Elusive / Overlooked Species

Finding: Difficult

Temperament: Shy

Location: Inner reef

Danger: Dorsal and Pectoral Spine