Yellowtail Fusilier, Caesio cuning Click to enlarge image
A Yellowtail Fusilier at a depth of 26 m, Michaelmas Cay, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, 9 June 2010. Image: William White
© William White

Fast Facts

  • Classification
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 60 cm in length.


The Yellowtail Fusilier can be recognised by its colouration. The species occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West Pacific. It is usually seen swimming in midwater where it feeds on zooplankton.


The Yellowtail Fusilier has a greyish-blue body. The soft portion of the dorsal fin is yellow, as is the top of the caudal peduncle and the caudal fin. The bottom third of the body is often white with a pink-reddish tinge. This gives this species its common name.

Yellowtail Fusilier, Caesio cuning
A Yellowtail Fusilier at a depth of 18m, Wheeler Reef, Queensland, November 2001. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl


The Yellowtail Fusilier inhabits offshore reef slopes, commonly in large schools. It is found at depths from 1 m to 60 m.


It occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West Pacific, from Sri Lanka, throughout South-east Asia and Micronesia, north to Japan, south to Australia and east to Vanuatu.

In Australia it is known from the north-western coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country, and south to central New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Feeding and diet

It is usually seen swimming in midwater where it feeds on zooplankton.


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 220.
  2. Carpenter, K.E., 1987 Revision of the Indo-Pacific fish family Caesionidae (Lutjanoidea), with descriptions of five new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes (15): 1-56.
  3. Carpenter, K. E. 1988. FAO species catalog. Vol. 8. Fusilier fishes of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of caesionid species known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. No. 125: i-iv + 1-75.
  4. Carpenter, K. E. 2001. Caesionidae. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 5. Bony fishes part 3 (Menidae to Pomacentridae). FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-iv, 2791-3379.
  5. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.
  6. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 251.