Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Forcipiger flavissimus, Longnose butterflyfish, the Forcepsfish

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long thing snout
head - black above, white below
body + fins yellow

Forcipiger flavissimus Jordan & McGregor in Jordan & Evermann, 1898

Forcepsfish, Longnose butterflyfish

Body a strongly compressed oval disc, greatest body depth 1.9-2.4 in SL; mouth small, with a distinct gape (hence forceps-like), at end of a long, slender snout that is ~ 50-60% of head depth; teeth long and slender; dorsal fin with XII spines, deeply notched between the spines, 22-24; anal rays III, 17-18; tail edge straight to rounded; lateral line complete, with 74-80 scales; scales rough, covering dorsal and anal fins as well as head and body.

Bright yellow; upper half of head and nape black, white below; a black spot on anal fin just below base of caudal fin; tail fin transparent.

Size: to 22 cm.

Inhabits rock and coral reefs; feeds on hydroids, small crustaceans, tubed feet of echinoderms, pedicillaria of sea urchins, and polychaete tentacles.

Depth: 1-145 m.

East Africa to the America; the SW Gulf of California; all the oceanic islands.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Near Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Corals
  • Reef only
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Soft corals/hydroids
  • Sessile molluscs
  • Sessile crustacea
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Sessile worms
  • Data
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • TEP non-endemic
  • All species
  • Indo-Pacific only (Indian + Pacific Oceans)
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
  • All Pacific (West + Central + East)
Regional Endemism
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • Continent
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 22
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 145