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Fish of the Month
Issue: November 2008

Cirrhitichthys aprinus

CUVIER 1829

FOTM 1108

Iggy Tavares

Common Names: Spotted hawkfish, blotched hawkfish, boar hawkfish, threadfin hawkfish

Type Locality: Timor Island, southern Malay Archipelago

Range: Widespread in Indo-Pacific

Taxonomic Troubles: Originally described as Cirrhites aprinus.

Size: 12.5 cm (5 inches) TL.

Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical marine.

Difficulty: Like all hawkfish, this is a hardy species, easy to keep and feed.

Tank Setup: Great for community or reef systems. A hawkfish wants a sturdy perch from which it can watch the environment, ever ready to swoop down on prey. Reef-safe except with small shrimps and many live-sand organisms.

Feeding: A predator. Will normally take any and all offered foods with little training necessary. Quickly learns to beg and take food from the hand.

Breeding: Has spawned in captivity, but young were not raised.

Description: The basic hawkfish pattern of reddish- to brownish-orange bars or spots on a light background is transformed into blotches in this species. Prominent cirri on the dorsal spines.

Notes: Hawkfish are typically chunky, hearty, and hardy, and this species is no exception. They have large eyes and no swim bladder, both adaptations to their lifestyle, which is to rest motionless on a high perch, scanning the area for the worms, crustaceans, and small fish that comprise their natural diet. When they detect one, they dive-bomb on it like a hawk on a rabbit. While they will gladly consume any live animals small enough to swallow, they are equally eager to feed on dry, freeze-dried, or frozen offerings. They can become territorial about their perch, but usually they are content just to chase interlopers away. It is, however, usually not a good idea to include more than one hawkfish in an aquarium, though known pairs are occasionally kept together peacefully.

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