Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Cantherhines pullus, Orangespotted Filefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

brown + irregular pale stripes
upper tail base - white blotch
tail base: no spines; male - patch hairs

Cantherhines pullus (Ranzani, 1842)

Orangespotted Filefish

Body oblong, deep, compressed; a long pointed snout; a small mouth that opens at front; teeth moderately strong, six in outer row on top jaw and six 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 spine over front ½ of eye, relatively straight and robust, with barbed rear side, erectile, can be locked in position by small 2nd spine, folds down into deep groove; 2nd dorsal fin 33-36; anal fin 29-32; pectoral rays usually 13; median fins rays unbranched; no spines on tail base, although males have a patch of hairs; tail straight to rounded; pelvic fins present as a spine protruding from a patch of large scales, that patch fixed, not moveable vertically; lower belly flap large; scales minute, innumerable, skin rough; no patch of enlarged scales above pectoral base; lateral line inconspicuous.

Dark brown; head with fine orange longitudinal lines; dotted pale stripes on body overlaid by yellow-orange spots; a prominent white spot on upper tail base; tail fin yellowish.

Size: reaches 20 cm.

Inhabits coral and rocky reefs.

Depth: 1-57 m.

Both sides of the tropical and temperate Atlantic; Massachusetts to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Corallivore
  • Data
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Soft corals/hydroids
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Benthic macroalgae/seagrasses
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
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)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 20
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 57