Tag Archive: caribbean fishes

Kingdom: Animal
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Family Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets)

Genus/species: Hypoplectrus gemma

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Blue Hamlet is iridescent blue with thin borders on its tail. Max length : 13.0 cm

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Central Atlantic: USA (Florida) and Mexico. Marine; reef-associated. Tropical

DIET IN THE WILD: Hamlets have a large mouth and are carnivorous. In the wild Blue Hamlets feed on shrimps, small crabs, small crustaceans and the occasional small fish.

REPRODUCTION: Hamlets are simultaneous hermaphrodites (or synchronous hermaphrodites): They have both male and female sexual organs at the same time as an adult. They do not practice self-fertilization, but when they find a mate, the pair takes turns between which one acts as the male and which acts as the female through multiple matings, usually over the course of several nights.



California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

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fishbase fishbase.org/summary/47813

ADW. animaldiversity.org/accounts/Hypoplectrus/classification/

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes)

Genus/species: Pomacanthus paru

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: French Angelfish have tall, narrow bodies. and can turn quickly and maneuver down into narrow cracks between the corals to hunt prey and avoid predators.

The most observable difference between angelfishes and butterflyfishes is the preopercule spine on the gill cover common to angelfishes. Bodies are covered in black scales except those at front from nape to abdomen, which are rimmed with golden-yellow. Adults have a broad orange-yellow bar at the base of their pectoral fins and have a dorsal filament that is yellow.

Juveniles are jet black with circular bright yellow bands.
Max length : 41 cm (16 inches), common length : 25.0 cm (10 inches).

Adult below




DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Atlantic: Florida, USA and Bahamas to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Eastern Atlantic: off Ascension Island to the west coasts of Africa in shallow reefs. 

Depth range 3 – 100 m (10-90 feet)

Juvenile below

French Angelfish


DIET IN THE WILD: P. paru are omnivores feeding on  sponges, algae, bryozoans, zoantharians, gorgonians and tunicates.

REPRODUCTION: French Angelfish are oviparous and monogamous. Spawning pairs are strongly territorial, with usually both members vigorously defending their areas against neighboring pairs.

CONSERVATION: IUCN; Least concern.

REMARKS: The tall, narrow bodies can turn quickly and maneuver down into narrow cracks between the corals to hunt prey and avoid predators. They swim by rowing with their pectoral fins.

Juveniles tend cleaning stations where they service a broad range of clients, including jacks, snappers, morays, grunts, surgeonfishes, and wrasses. At the station the cleaner displays a fluttering swimming and when cleaning it touches the clients with its pelvic fins.

Ciguatera poisoning may rarely occur from eating French angelfishes.

Juvenile below


California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/1118

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ADW animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Pomacanthus_paru/

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacentridae (Damselfishes)

Genus/species: Chromis enchrysura

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Max length : 10.0 cm (4 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Native to Western Atlantic: through the Caribbean Sea to southern Brazil. Found among steep slopes and outer patch reefs.. Depth range 5 – 146 m (16-480 ft)

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous, pairs during breeding. Eggs are demersal and adhere to the substrate. Males guard and aerate the eggs.



California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/summary/188315/0

fishbase  https://www.fishbase.de/summary/Chromis-enchrysura.html

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch likes)
Family: Chaetodontidae (Butterflyfishes)

Genus/species: Chaetodon aya

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: C. aya is a silver–white-colored fish with yellow on all fins except the pectoral fins. It also has vertical dark bars on its eyes and near its caudal fin and a broad dark bar sloping down and backward from middle of spiny dorsal fin to base of rear part of anal fin.

Bank butterflyfish Chaetodon aya,Chaetodontidae_RJD IMG_2745

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Central Atlantic: North Carolina and northeastern Gulf of Mexico to Yucatan in Mexico; unknown in Bahamas and Antilles. Found along deep offshore reefs, marine; depth range 20 – 170 m (65 – 550 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: Mouth small, terminal and protrusible with a band or rows of small brushlike teeth. Most Chaetodontidae feed on a combination of coelenterate polyps or tentacles, small invertebrates, fish eggs, and filamentous algae.

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous, Form pairs during breeding

CONSERVATION: IUCN, Least concern. (LC)


REMARKS: Is shaped to hover and navigate holes and crevices in the reef. It has a small protruding mouth and many small teeth in both jaws to reach and eat food items unavailable to many other fishes.

The vertical line going through the eye disguises the eye and makes it harder for a predator to figure out which is the front of the fish and which is the back, perhaps giving the butterflyfish a brief chance to escape while the predator hesitates.

Butterflyfish and angelfishes, have evolved bodies which are deep and laterally compressed like a pancake. Their pelvic and pectoral fins are designed differently, so they act together with the flattened body to optimise manoeuvrability.


California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018


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fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3601

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/165621/0

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Labridae (Wrasses)

Genus species: Halichoeres garnoti
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: All yellowed wrasses begin their lives as females. As they grow they change theirs and coloration. Adults are blue above the lateral line and have a yellow belly. Juveniles are yellow with a silvery blue stripe along the side. Super males (terminal males), have black vertical bar behind tip of pectoral fin, merging with broad black area on upper side.

Length up to 19 cm (7.5 in)

Yellowhead Wrasse

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: H. garnoti are native to the Western Atlantic; Bermuda and southern Florida to southeastern Brazil.
Commonly found on shallow and deep reefs and exposed ledges.

DIET IN THE WILD: Crustaceans, molluscs, worms, echinoderms.

REMARKS: Curious; easily attracted by divers. Diurnal; swim constantly during the day and rest at night.


California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium Caribbean Reef 2018

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Phylum: Chordata
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes)

Genus/species: Holacanthus tricolor

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Like their close relatives the butterflyfishes, they have a deep, laterally compressed body, a single and a unnotched dorsal fin. The most observable difference between the two families is the long spine at the corner of the preopercle common to angelfishes.

H. tricolor has a yellow anterior body with the remaining parts of body black. The caudal fin is entirely yellow.
Maximum length of approximately 12 inches (35 cm)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Atlantic: Georgia (USA), Bermuda, and northern Gulf of Mexico to Santa Catarina, Brazil among rock jetties, rocky reefs and rich coral areas.    Depth range 3 – 92 m (10-300 ft)

DIET IN THE WILD: Rock Beauty Angelfish feeds on tunicates, sponges, zoantharians and algae.


REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: Pair bonding suggests a monogamous relationship. Pairs usually consist of one small and one large fish as well. Pairs will spawn by slowly rising up in the water column while bringing their bellies close together, and releasing large amounts of eggs and sperm. A female can release anywhere from 25 to 75 thousand eggs each evening. This can total as many as ten million eggs for the duration of the spawning cycle. The eggs are transparent and pelagic, floating in the water column hatching in 15 to 20 hours becoming “pre-larval” angelfish attached to their large yolk sac. Has no functional fins, no eyes, or gut. After about 48 hours the yolk is absorbed developing into true larvae feeding on plankton. Growth is rapid and 3 to 4 weeks after hatching the fish will reach about 15-20 mm (0.6-0.8in) and will settle on the bottom.


REMARKS: Reports of ciguatera poisoning 


California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean reef fishes 2018

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fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/3610

EOL  eol.org/pages/995079/hierarchy_entries/44730320/details

Animal World  animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/angels/RockBeauty.php

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Grammatidae (Basslets)

Genus/species: Gramma dejongi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The body is golden-yellow, except for magenta surrounding pelvic-fin insertion, along ventral isthmus, operculum, and membranes and rearward along ventral abdomen; pelvic fins are bright purple-magenta with a darker streak along length of second soft-ray; presence of magenta patch covering first 3-4 dorsal-fin spines.

Length: Up to 4.5 cm (1.77 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical. Found on walls, in shallow reef areas in the Caribbean, Cuba. (only recently discovered in Cuba in 2010 )
Depth range down to 30 m (98.4 ft)

IUCN: Data deficient.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Water is Life 2018

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) 
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes) 
Family: Scaridae (Parrotfishes)

Genus/species: Scarus iseri

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Parrotfish owe their name to the shape of their mouth. Instead of teeth they have two beak-like plates, like parrots. They have even rows of large, noticeable scales on their bodies. 

Terminal phase: Body blue to green, with a gold to yellow spot or stripe above and behind the pectoral fin. Dorsal fin with a distinct pink, yellow or orange stripe down the middle that is broken by blue to green linear markings. Tail dark blue or green, with yellow or orangish linear markings between the borders.
Initial and juvenile phases: Body with three black stripes, two white stripes and a white belly, often with thin, broken silver, yellow or dark stripes. Usually yellow smudge on the nose, occasionally with yellow on the ventral fins, belly or tail. Tail without dark borders.
Size up to 35 cm.

Striped Parrottfish19431680162_8165aba44c_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Common Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean. Epibenthic, found over shallow, clear waters, generally over Thalassia beds and rocky or coral areas

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on plants.

REPRODUCTION: A protogynous hermaphrodite . Super males spawn individually with striped females, while sexually mature males in the striped phase spawn in aggregation.




California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2015

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Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-Lc

IUCN  www.iucnredlist.org/details/190732/25

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/217720/details

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch likes)
Family: Chaetodontidae (Butterflyfishes) The name “Chaetodontidae” means “bristle-tooth”.

Genus/species: Chaetodon sedentarius.

Reef butterflyfish  Chaetodon sedentarius ChaetodontidaeIMG_5652

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Silver body, yellow and black dorsal fin, and yellow tail; two vertical black bars, one on the head through the eye and a black bar across the caudal peduncle. Max length: 6 inches (15 cm). 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: a tropical western Atlantic species, found in the waters of the Carolinas to northern South America, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Lives in the shallows and as deep as the light restricts coral growth. ( 48-130 feet deep).

DIET IN THE WILD: Coral polyps, polychaete worms, shrimps, amphipods and hydroids. Can be quite acrobatic in its feeding, often swimming upside down to get into crevices where prey might be hiding.

REPRODUCTION: Found in pairs, suggesting monogamy. The larvae of butterflyfishes are unique from all other species of fish. The head is encased in bony armor and large bony plates extend backwards from the head. These larvae, called “tholichthys,” grow to about 20mm, after which they settle on the bottom during the night.

PREDATORS: Preyed upon by larger fish, such as moray eels, snappers, and groupers. If it can’t find cover, will defend itself by facing its predator with dorsal spines erected, suggesting a sharply distasteful meal.


CONSERVATION: IUCN:  Least concern (LC)

REMARKS: Gets its name from its flitting movements about the reef and its beautiful color pattern that resembles the movements and appearance of the insect. 

Caribbean reef,  Currently not on exhibit


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fishbase http://www.fishbase.org/summary/3605

Florida Museum of Natural History: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/ButterflyReef/ButterflyReef.htm

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Chaetodontidae (Butterflyfishes)

Genus/species: Chaetodon ulietensis


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS White for and mid-body and a bright yellow rear. A pair of diffuse dark saddles are across the back with a black spot on the base of the tail and black bar through the eye. Size to 15 cm (6 in).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Central and Western Pacific in coral-rich areas of lagoons and seaward reefs to 30 m (100 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD Wide range of foods including invertebrates and algae.

REPRODUCTION Monogamous usually seen in pairs.. Oviparous.



Color Cluster

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flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157625119200613/…

Australian Museum australianmuseum.net.au/Doublesaddle-Butterflyfish-Chaeto…

EOL eol.org/pages/1012794/details

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