Convict Fish dig extensive tunnel networks from which huge numbers of striped juveniles emerge. This spectacular footage from the BBC Life series showcases the species.

Striped Catfish at Camp Cove
Striped Catfish at Camp Cove Image: Ákos Lumnitzer
© Ákos Lumnitzer

The common name of the Convict Fish, Pholidichthys leucotaenia, refers to colouration of the juvenile fish which is said to resemble the striped clothes of a convict. Juveniles are black with a white horizontal stripe from eye to tail. They look a little like juvenile Striped Catfish, Plotosus lineatus.

The species has been called by many names, including the Convict Goby, Engineer Goby, Convict Blenny, Engineer Blenny, Convict Worm Goby, Pacific Neon Goby and Convict Worm Blenny. Perhaps surprisingly it is neither a goby or a true blenny (Family Blenniidae) but one of the Convict Blennies (Family Pholidichthyidae).

The Australian Museum Ichthyology Collection contains 44 larval and juvenile specimens of P. leucotaenia. The collection currently contains no adults.