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Species: Malacanthus plumieri, Sand Tilefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

very elongate
no nape ridge
whitish + brown stripe
C: orange top & bottome edges, black inner top lobe
preoperculum smooth
operculum: sharp spine



Malacanthus plumieri (Bloch, 1786)

Sand Tilefish

Body very elongate (depth 13-19% of SL), slightly compressed; head slender, profile rounded; no ridge along midline of nape before dorsal fin; preopercle smooth; a large, sharp spine at angle of operculum; dorsal fin IV-V, 54-60; anal fin I, 48-55; scales rough on body, smooth on head; lateral-line scales 135-152.

Body pale blue-green, darker above; sides may have light yellow bars; dorsal fin with thin yellow margin, then clear band, then yellow band, inner part with 3-4 rows of yellow spots; anal fin like dorsal; pelvics white; tail fin with yellow to orangish upper and lower margins, blackish upper front half; juvenile may have an orange stripe along the rear half of the flank.

Size: grows to 60 cm.

Inhabits open sand-rubble bottoms. Usually seen in pairs; live in a burrow of their own construction often under a rock and rubble.

Depth: usually 10-50 m, but extends down to 184 m.

North Carolina to southern Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 60
Depth Range Min
  • 10
Depth Range Max
  • 184