Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus, Coral hawkfish

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head pointed
pink/white + brown/red blotches

Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus (Bleeker, 1855)

Coral Hawkfish

Body oval, moderately compressed; snout pointed, with ~ straight profile; rear edge of front nostril with a fringe of cirri; bone under front of eye with partly free rear margin; mouth moderately large; a row of small canines on jaws with a band of simple teeth inside those; teeth on center and sides of roof of mouth; preopercle margin coarsely serrated; operculum with 2 flat spines; dorsal fin X, 12, continuous, slightly notched between spines and rays, membranes between spines deeply indented, each spine with a large bunch of cirri at the tip; anal fin III, 6; tail fin bluntly straight edged; lower 5-7 rays of the pectoral stout, with membranes deeply notched, distinctly longer than other rays, top 1-2 & lower 6-7 pectoral rays unbranched; pelvic I, 5, its origin behind pectoral base; scales smooth, none between eyes, 3-4 rows of large scales on cheek; 41-45 on lateral line.

Whitish or pink with squarish red to brown blotches covering sides; head with smaller red to brown spots and blotches; dorsal and tail fins with rows of small red-brown spots.

Size: grows to 10 cm.

Habitat: rocky and coral reefs.

Depth: 2-65 m, usually seen perched on coral heads in 3-15 m.

The central Gulf of California to northern Peru and all the offshore islands.

Note: Genetic comparisons with Indo-central Pacific populations indicate that the TEP population most likely is an endemic species, C. corallicola, type locality, Colombia.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Corals
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Pelagic crustacea
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • All species
  • Continent
  • TEP endemic
  • Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 10
Depth Range Min
  • 2
Depth Range Max
  • 65