Cirrhitichthys aprinus (Cuvier, 1829)

Common Name: 
Blotched Hawkfish
Distribution: 

Common throughout Solitary Islands Marine Park. Widespread west Pacific Central New South Wales to South East Japan. In Australia recorded from northern Western Australia, Queensland south to southern New South Wales, and including Lord Howe Island.

Ecological Notes: 

Mainly on coastal reefs and rocky estuaries, usually associated with sponges. Depth to 40 m, usually 12 - 20 m.

Additional Notes: 

Colour pattern variable with large blotches that may form bars. Has dark blotch on upper operculum and feathery cirri on dorsal fin spines. Often observed perching on suitable vantage point from where it preys on small fish, zooplankton and invertebrates.  Similar looking Hypoplectrodes maccullochi (Half Banded Seaperch) is without the operculum spot and cirri on dorsal fin spines. Grows to 12 cm in cooler range, only 9 cm in equatorial regions.

References: 

R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.230.

Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=Cirrhitichthys+aprinus. Accessed 15/05/18.

FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. http://fishbase.ca/summary/Cirrhitichthys-aprinus.html. Accessed 15/05/18.