- Photo. (c) 2022 BSS/MCSS.
Genus: Centrarchiformes (Basses), Cirrhitidae (Hawkfishes)
Scientific Name: Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus
English Name: Coral hawkfish
French Name: Épervier à points rouges
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)
Dorsal spines: 3; Dorsal rays: 25-27; Anal rays: 24-25.
Greyish to greenish brown dorsally, with small pale spots. Whitish ventrally with yellow spots that can coalesce to form a reticulum particularly posteriorly. 3 large
oval white spots along the back and a small one dorsally on caudal peduncle; a broad white streak often on side of body posterior to upper end of gill opening. White
blotches and mid-lateral stripe can disappear with growth. An oblique groove before the eye; large bony scales behind gill opening. Caudal peduncle depressed, slender
and tapering. Yellow bands on dorsal and anal fins. Caudal fin, yellow with white bars and stripes pattern and diffuse black margin, double emarginate, lobes longer
Maturity: Lm unknown. Range unknown. Max Length: 60cm TL
Habitat and Ecology:
Reef associated. Inhabits mud and silt sand bottoms (depth 7-350m), usually 7-100m depth on sand, sponge, and weed bottoms. Feeds on benthic animals, including crabs,
molluscs and sea urchins. Juveniles in sheltered coastal bays and estuaries.
This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is caught in both the fish trap and hand line fisheries and is, along with Sufflamen fraenatum,
the most commonly caught triggerfish in the artisanal fishery.
Abalistes stellaris is a synonym for this species.
Bray, D.J. (2018). Abalistes stellatus in Fishes of Australia, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/759 (30/10/18).
Froese, R. & D. Pauly. Eds. (2018). FishBase https://www.fishbase.de/summary/abalistes-stellatus (30/10/18)
Matsuura, K. (2015). Taxonomy and systematics of tetraodontiform ﬁshes: a review focusing primarily on progress in the period from 1980 to 2014. Ichthyol Res (2015)
62:72–113 DOI 10.1007/s10228-014-0444-5
Matsuura, K. & Motomura, H. (2015). Abalistes stellatus. The IUCN Red List 2015: e.T193587A56996805. https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/193587/56996805 (18/06/22). .
Matsuura K, Yoshino T (2004). A new triggerﬁsh of the genus Abalistes (Tetraodontiformes: Balistidae) from the western Paciﬁc. Rec Aust Mus 56:189-194
Smith, M & Heemstra, P Eds. (1999). Smiths’ Sea Fishes Edition 6. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 10.1007/978-3-642-82858-4
Nevill, J.E.G. & Mason-Parker, C. (2019). Abalistes stellatus, Starry triggerfish. Seychelles Seatizens. www.seatizens.sc. https://seatizens.sc/species/abalistes-stellatus-anonymous-1798/ (updated 18/06/22).
Dorsal spines: 10; Dorsal rays: 12-13; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 6.
Small, moderately full-bodied hawkfish. Maxilla reaching or extending past vertical at front edge of eye. 4 rows of scales on cheek. Interorbital space not scaled. Preopercle
coarsely serrate. 3 scale rows above lateral line. 5th dorsal spine longest. A tuft of cirri near tip of each dorsal spine. Membranes of spinous dorsal fin moderately incised.
Colour. Highly variable in colour. Base colour is light white to pink. Colour of spots varies from grey to black or orangish to red. Horizontal rows of oblong to
subquadrate spots on body. A row of smaller spots on the lateral line between the larger spots. Small dark spots on head and nape. 2 bands of spots radiate ventrally from eye.
Spots on the spinous dorsal fin including blotches along the fin base, and spotted soft dorsal and caudal fins. Pectoral fins transparent.
Maturity: Unknown. Max length : 10.0 cm TL.
Habitat and Ecology:
Inhabits areas of rich coral growth and clear water of lagoon, channel, or seaward reefs (depth 1-40 m, usually 10-25 m). Benthic. Rest on, in or beneath corals. Feed on
crustaceans and small fishes. Males are territorial and haremic. Spawning occurs in the water column.
This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is not subject to the artisanal fishery.
Photo courtesy Eleanor Brighton and Chris Mason-Parker (c) 2022 Blue Safari Seychelles/Marine Conservation Society, Seychelles. Photograph taken at Alphonse group 2022.
Bray, D.J. Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus in Fishes of Australia, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/437 (23/07/22).
Froese, R. & D. Pauly. (Eds.) (2022). FishBase. https://www.fishbase.se/summary/Cirrhitichthys-oxycephalus.html (22/07/22).
Greenfield, D. & Williams, I. (2016). Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus (errata version 2017). The IUCN Red List 2016: https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T67997668A68001661.en. (22/07/22).
Smith, M. & Heemstra, P. (Eds.) (1999). Smiths’ Sea Fishes Edition 6. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 10.1007/978-3-642-82858-4
Nevill, J.E.G., Brighton, E. & Mason-Parker, C. (2022). Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus, Coral hawkfish. Seychelles Seatizens. www.seatizens.sc. https://seatizens.sc/species/cirrhitichthys-oxycephalus-bleeker-1855/
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