Eastern Blue Devil

Paraplesiops bleekeri
Image by Taso Viglas.

Commonly regarded as one of the most beautiful reef fish in NSW, this shy and secretive species is of low abundance due to natural rarity.

Its population was further harmed by over hunting and collection by humans making it now fully protected under NSW Fisheries Laws. Blue Devils are found in 3 to 30 metres of water and prefer to reside near caves, crevices, and rock ledges – where they hang out during the day. If approached by a diver, or overzealous photographer, they tend to move into the back of the overhang to remain safe.

The breeding season is from October to March, and males are thought to defend a territory with a promising overhang in order to attract a mate. The female then lays groups of bright yellow eggs and glues them to the roof of the cave, or ledge, until they hatch. 4mm long, free-swimming larvae wriggle out and settle around nearby reef areas. There have been very few sighting of juveniles but when fully grown Blue Devils can become as big as 40cm. They delight in eating brittle sea stars.

They have been known to reside in the same cave over several years and are thought to be more active at night. Usually sighted individually or as part of a mated pair, we are proud to say that our local dive site Blue Devil Cave has been a host to these photogenic beauties for many years now.