Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Cephalopholis furcifer, Atlantic creolefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

elongate, oval, compressed
head small, both profiles convex
red/grey + 5-6 small dark spots on upper back & ta
C deeply concave

Cephalopholis furcifer (Valenciennes, 1828)

Atlantic creolefish

Body an elongate oval, fusiform, upper and lower body profiles equally convex; head small (< 1/3 SL); snout shorter than eye; rear of top jaw exposed when mouth closed, without accessory bone above it; gill rakers 37-38; preoperculum angular, serrated; dorsal fin with IX spines and 17-19 rays; anal rays III, 8-10; pectoral rays 19-21; tail deeply concave; flank scales rough, 69-77 on lateral line.

Adults reddish brown to purplish dorsally, pinkish below; 5-6 pale or dark spots on upper back and tail base; fins reddish. Young often bright yellow with five small dark spots on upper back.

Size: to 40 cm.

Habitat: forms midwater schools at the outer edges of reefs while feeding on plankton.

Depth: 0-128 m.

South Carolina to Brazil; the south Atlantic islands.

Note: C. colonus from the eastern Pacific is closely related and very similar in appearance.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Near Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Reef only
  • Water column
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Pelagic jellyfish/ctenophores
  • Pelagic fish larvae
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • Data
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
  • All species.
Regional Endemism
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Continent
  • All species..
  • GC non-endemic
  • Also in Brazil
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 40
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 128