Tag Archive: tropical marine fishes

Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Pectiformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes).

Genus/species: Centropyge bicolor

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: One of the  most striking of the Centropyge group of dwarf or pygmy angelfish.  The forebody is yellow with a blue saddle across its nape and the rearbody is blue with a bright yellow tailfin. They are distinguished from the similarly shaped butterflyfish by strong preopercle spines found on each of the lower gill covers of angelfishes.

Length up to 6 inches (15.2cm)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific in shallow, coral-rich reefs in rubble areas. Range 1 – 25 m (3-82 feet) deep.

DIET IN THE WILD: Varied diet algae, small crustaceans and worms.


MORTALITY/LONGEVITY; Average Lifespan of 12 years.

REPRODUCTION: As with other dwarf angels the Bicolor Angelfish are synchronous protogynic hermaphrodites. They start out sexually undifferentiated, develop into females, and with environmental influences will develop into males. Males are typically larger.

CONSERVATION : IUCN, Least concern

REMARKS: C. bicolor are very active darting from one hiding place to the next.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Color on the Reef 2016 AQA16

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Anguilliformes (Eels and morays)
Family: Congridae (Conger and garden eels)
Subfamily: Heterocongrinae

Genus/species: Heteroconger hassi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The color is variable with tiny spots covering the body including three large black spots, two of which are usually visible. The third spot is on the anus, which is usually in the burro. The pectoral fins are minute.

Length up to 40 cm (16 in), body diameter of about 14 mm (1/2 in)

SPOTTED GARDEN EEL Heteroconger hassi FAM (Congridae) ,IMG_0193_2

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Society Islands. Found on sandy bottoms with some current near a reef at depths of 7–45 m (22-140 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD:  H. hassi feeds on microscopic animals in the water column.

REPRODUCTION: During mating season, males and females move their burrows closer together. With tails remaining in their burrows, they meet and entwine bodies. Males defend the females they have chosen. After mating the fertilized eggs are released into the current and float near the surface in the open ocean. The eggs hatch out and the larvae float until the eels are large enough to swim down and make a burrow.

Heteroconger hassi3302264315_77ea9161f9_b


REMARKS: Garden eels are usually found in colonies containing up to several hundred. The garden eel drives its pointy tail into the sand to create a burrow. Secretions from the skin harden and stabilize burrow sides. Part of the eel’s body remains in the burrow as it faces the current to feed. When approached, the animal withdraws into its burrow for protection.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef 2018

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Georgia Aquarium animalguide.georgiaaquarium.org/home/galleries/tropical-d…

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

Genus/species: Halichoeres richmondi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They have stunning horizontal chain like stripes going down the full length of their bodies. Male Richmond’s Wrasses tend to be more blue and green in color while females are more orange. Juvenile Richmond’s Wrasses have eye spots on their dorsal fins as well.

Length up to 17 cm (6.7 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Richmond’s Wrasse are found in the Western Pacific from Java to the Philippines inhabiting shallow lagoons and coral reefs, up to a depth of at least 20 m (65.5 feet).

REPRODUCTION: Pair during spawning

REMARKS: Wrasses are most easily identified by their pointed snouts and prominent canine teeth that protrude in front of the jaw. Other common characteristics include their form of propulsion, which depends mostly on the winglike motion of the pectoral fins with only an occasional burst of speed provided by the caudal fin.

CONSERVATION: IUCN least concern.


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California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Animal Attractions Rich Ross 2017

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EOL eol.org/pages/212051/details



Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Labridae (Wrasses)

Genus/species: Stethojulis bandanensis

Stethojulis bandanensisIMG_8597

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The body is elongate and fusiform with a pointed head and small mouth. Primary phase individuals are brown with hundreds of tiny white specks, a white belly, yellowish cheeks, and an orange shoulder patch. Terminal males typically have a series of partial to complete longitudinal thin blue lines on their sides. Females mainly bluish grey with fine white spotting over upper sides and a small red spot at axil of pectoral fin. They have a blue-green on upper half and bluish below.

Length up to 15 cm (6 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical Indo-Pacific: eastern Indian Ocean to western Australia, Found in shallow clear water of reef flats and lagoon and seaward reefs, in areas of mixed sand, rubble and coral. Depth 3-30m (10-100 feet).

DIET IN THE WILD: Zoobenthos ( small benthic invertebrates living on, in, or near the seabed, also known as the benthic zone)

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous with distinct pairing during breeding



California Academy of Sciences Philippine coral reef 2016
Vetted J. Charles Delbeek, M.Sc.
Assistant Curator, Steinhart Aquarium

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Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Labridae (Wrasses)

Genus/species: Cirrhilabrus rubrimarginatus


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Body shape is fusiform. The male is more brilliantly colored compared to the female and the juvenile, Has a red margin on both the tail and dorsal fin.

length up to 5 inchesRed-Margin Wrasse

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Pacific: north to the Ryukyu Islands, through the Philippines, Palau, and Indonesia. Adults found in deep coastal to outer reef drop-offs and steep slopes to 40 m (130 feet) or more, usually in loose aggregations.

CONSERVATION: IUCN; Least concern.

REMARKS: Fairy wrasses, along with 4 other closely related genera, have an unusual eye structure. The cornea is divided into two segments, basically forming a double pupil. It is theorized that the center pupil acts like a close-up lens to give the fish a clear view of its small prey. Fairy wrasses are active during the day, and sleep at night wedged into crevasses protected by a mucous cocoon they secrete around themselves.


California Academy of Sciences Philippine coral reef 2016      Charles Delbeek, M.Sc  Assistant Curator, Steinhart Aquarium  California Academy of Sciences

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Reef Keeping  http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-01/hcs3/

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

Genus/species: Halichoeres chloropterus


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Juveniles lime green; females pale green above and white below, with a thin dark line on the base of the pectoral fin. Terminal males head of male with intricate reticulate pattern of bands that varies from one individual to another; small blackish spot on anus.

Length up to 19 cm (7.5 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: West Central Pacific: Philippines to the Great Barrier Reef. Found in shallow protected coral reef on silt, sand and rubble bottom. Depth to 10 meters (33 feet)

Pastel-green wrasse4391731072_b36a014eca_b

DIET IN THE WILD: Hard-shelled prey, including mollusks, crustaceans, and sea urchins.



California Academy of Sciences Philippine coral reef 201

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Siganidae (Rabbitfishes and Spinefoots)

Genus/species: Siganus virgatus

Barhead Spinefoot 4533131275_6ac3dc18ab_b

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Yellow above, white below with yellow dorsal and caudal fins; blue markings on head and back. The eyes are masked by a black stripe that extends from the bottom of the mouth to the top of the head, and a brown band running diagonally from nape to chin.

Length up to 11.8 inches

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical west Pacific in shallow coastal waters, around hard coral reefs and areas of sand with patches of rock and soft coral. Tolerant of murky waters. Depth 1–15 m (3-45 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on benthic seaweeds

REPRODUCTION: Pelagic spawner

MORTALITY: Stout venomous spines discourage would-be predators.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List  Not evaluated

REMARKS : Fins and spines are venomous. Caution must be used when handling. Reactions can range from mild to severe
Named rabbitfish due to their voracious appetite.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef 2016

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

Genus/species: Hemitaurichthys polylepis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:They have a deep, laterally compressed body, a single, un-notched dorsal fin, and a small mouth with brushlike teeth. The color of the head is brown to black. The body has a large white pyramid-shaped area on its side and its scales are pearlescent. The dorsal and anal fins are yellow; caudal fin white.

Length up to 18 cm (7 in)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Eastern Indian,  Western and Central Pacific Oceans. Among outer coral reefs usually close to drop offs, at depths 3–60 m (9-180 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: Pyramid Butterflyfish are planktivores that aggregate in the water column. Unlike many other butterflyfishes, this species does not feed on coral polyps, so is considered a good choice for aquaria with live corals. 

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous. Form pairs during breeding.

CONSERVATION: Least Concern (LC)

REMARKS: Occur in large schools that feed several meters above the edges of steep outer reef slopes.



California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef 2016

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IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/165672/0



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

Genus/species: Heniochus diphreutes 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Their color is white with pair of black bands, second band terminating at end of anal fin. There is an elongate dorsal fin filament. All species have a deep, laterally compressed body with a continuous dorsal fin and distinctive rounded anal fin. The mouth is small, terminal, and protrusible with small brushlike teeth.

Length to 21 cm (8 inches)



DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific; widely distributed from the Red Sea and the east coast of Africa to Hawaii on outer reef slopes, 15–210 m (50-690 ft.) in the tropics typically in cool upwelling water.

DIET IN THE WILD: Zooplankton.

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous forming pairs during breeding.



REMARKS: Form large schools, and also occur in small groups or solitary. Their elongate dorsal fin filament, gives this group of fishes their “bannerfish” moniker; is the fourth dorsal spine. Often called the “false” Moorish Idol for its markings similar to the Steinhart’s iconic species; however, the flowing dorsal fin and larger size of the Idol are distinctive differentiations.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Philippine coral reef 2016

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Blenniidae (Combtooth blennies)

GENUS/SPECIES: Salarias fasciatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The head has small, branched supraorbital and nuchal filamentous skin projections (cirri). The body is usually olive to brown with dark bars and a large number of round or elongated white spots of different sizes with several dusky bands.

Length up to about 12 cm (4.75 in).

Jeweled Blenny8748640285_1b56bb468a_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical Indo-Pacific. Found in intertidal areas to a few meters in-depth on reef flats and in shallow lagoons and estuaries.

DIET IN THE WILD: Algae eaters; tend to be territorial about feeding areas.


REPRODUCTION: Oviparous; form pairs and guard nests.


REMARKS: Tends to hop from rock to rock looking for food. Its nickname “Lawnmower Blenny” comes from its prodigious and efficient algal consumption using comb-like teeth that line the jaws.


California Academy of Sciences Philippine coral reef 2016

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