Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Cirrhitus rivulatus, Giant hawkfish, Hieroglyphic hawkfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

large blunt, head
grey + bronze bars & 2 white spots
juvenile white + black bars, red D1

Cirrhitus rivulatus Valenciennes, 1846

Giant hawkfish, Hieroglyphic hawkfish

Body deep, not very compressed; head deep, blunt; a fringe of cirri on rear edge of front nostril; 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;  upper margin of preopercle finely serrated or smooth;  operculum with 2 flat spines;  dorsal fin X, 11-12, 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 7 rays of the pectoral stout, with membranes deeply notched, distinctly longer than other rays, top 1 & lower 7 pectoral rays unbranched; pelvic I, 5, its origin behind pectoral base; scales smooth, none between eyes; > 12 irregular rows of small scales on cheek; 45-49 on lateral line.

Greyish brown with 5 "bars", each composed of a "maze" of golden-brown markings with black margins narrowly surrounded by blue; head with broad golden-brown spoke-like bands radiating from eye, these also with black margin narrowly outlined with blue; 2-3 white spots on upper back,  sometimes another on tail fin; juveniles white with dark brown bars on body, bars on head reddish; spinous dorsal fin red.

Size: attains 60 cm; it is the largest member of the family.

Habitat: juveniles found in shallow surge zone, adults on rocky reefs.

Depth: 1-30 m.

Southern Baja and the northern Gulf of California to northern Peru and all the offshore Islands.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Corals
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef only
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • All species
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 60
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 30