Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

Español  Contact

Species: Platax orbicularis, Orbicular Batfish, Orbicular Spadefish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

strongly compressed disc
top head profile convex
juv: v elongate pelvics, D&A
juv: red to yellow brown, bars: eye, front body
bars on head & front body, sometime tail base
D,A edges black
pelvics black
pelvics + front rays D&A: elongate

Platax orbicularis (Forsskal, 1775)

Orbicular Batfish, Orbicular Spadefish

Body a highly compressed disc; head short, upper profile smoothly convex to dorsal fin rays; convex snout very short, blunt; margin of preopercle smooth in adults; chin with 5 pores on each side; mouth small, pointed, opens at front; teeth slender, tips broader, with 3 points, middle point longer and stronger than others; lower gill rakers 8-10; dorsal fin continuous, V-VI (spines not easily seen, gradually increasing in size towards rear), no notch, 34-39 rays; anal fin III, 25-29; front of soft dorsal and anal, and pelvics elongate; pectoral fins short, 16-19; pelvic fin origin before pectoral base; tail with wavy rear edge; lateral line complete, 44-52 scales; scales small, finely rough, nearly all of space between eyes scaleless; shape changes dramatically with age, juveniles with very deep bodies greatly elongate dorsal, anal and pelvic fins.

Head and body silvery grey; body usually with a few scattered black spots; front of body with a broad dark bar; head with a narrow dark bar running through eye; edges of dorsal and anal fins broadly dark; sometimes an indistinct dark bar on tail base extending onto soft dorsal and anal fins; dorsal, anal and tail fins grey to yellow. Juvenile: light reddish brown to brownish yellow; front of body with a broad dark bar, a narrow dark bar down head through eye.

Reaches 50 cm.

Young in sheltered bays and lagoons and mangroves; adults on reefs, singly or in small schools

Depth range 5-80 m.

Indo-central Pacific; introduced to Southeast Florida, also at northern Cuba.

High Resolution Map Download

Species Data Create Report Export as Word File Export as Excel File
  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Corals
  • Estuary
  • Mangrove
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Soft corals/hydroids
  • Zooplankton
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Island (s)
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 50
Depth Range Min
  • 5
Depth Range Max
  • 80