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Species: Aluterus schoepfii, Orange filefish

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orange spots
eye not near top profile

Aluterus schoepfii (Walbaum, 1792)

Orange filefish

Body very compressed, elongate, oblong; a long pointed snout; upper profile of head concave, lower profile convex; eye well below upper head profile, not relatively near dorsal fin (distance 7.3-13.5% SL); a small, upturned mouth that opens above center line; teeth moderately strong, 6 in outer row on top jaw and 6 or less on outer row on bottom jaw; gill opening a short slit on side before pectoral base; 2 dorsal fins, 1st with II spines, 1st long, slender, smooth, over eye, erectile, can be locked in position by minute 2nd spine; second dorsal fin  32-39 rays; anal rays 35-41; pectoral rays modally 12-13; median fins rays unbranched; tail base relatively slender; tail fin relatively short; pelvic fins absent, no pelvic spine, no large scales encasing area where pelvics should be; scales minute, innumerable, skin like sand-paper, relatively rough; no patch of enlarged scales above pectoral base; lateral line inconspicuous.

Grey, head and body with many small orange dots; fins pale.

Size: grows to 60 cm.

Lives on sand and mud bottoms, and in algal and seagrass beds, although also found on reefs.

Depth: 0-900 m.

Nova Scotia to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Mud
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Sand & gravel
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Corallivore
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Soft corals/hydroids
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Benthic macroalgae/seagrasses
  • Data
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
  • All species.
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Also in Brazil
  • All species..
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC non-endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 60
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 900