Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Family: CIRRHITIDAE, Hawkfishes

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

rear nostril: bunch cirri
D: spines with cirri
pectoral: lower rays thick, long



Body oval, moderately compressed; snout short; a fringe of cirri on rear edge of front nostril; 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; operculum with 2 flat spines; preopercle serrated; dorsal fin X, 11-17, continuous, slightly notched between spines and rays, membranes between spines deeply indented, each spine with a tuft of threads at the tip; anal fin III, 5-7; tail fin bluntly straight edged; lower 5-7 rays of the pectoral stout, with membranes deeply notched, distinctly longer than other rays, used for perching on the bottom; pelvic I, 5, its origin behind pectoral base; scales smooth, 41-53 on lateral line.

Hawkfishes are colorful reef dwellers that occur in most tropical seas. They are largely sedentary, remaining motionless on the bottom for long intervals, periodically swimming to a new vantage point on the reef surface. Hawkfishes feed chiefly on small fishes, but also consume a variety of crabs, shrimps, and other crustaceans.

Worldwide the family is represented by 33 species in 12 genera. In our region there are 1 endemic species and 2 Indo-Pacific species, from 3 different genera.