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Related FAQs: Marine Life of the Tropical West Atlantic, Tropical West Atlantic 2

Related Articles: TWA Invertebrates, Algae, Vascular PlantsIntroduction to Fishwatcher's Guide Series Pieces/Sections, Lachnolaimus maxiumus/Hogfish, Hogfishes of the Genus Bodianus

The Tropical West Atlantic: Bahamas to Brazil, Part 5

To: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11,


Bob Fenner  

Goatfishes, Family Mullidae. Two of the four species of Goatfishes found in the TWA are regularly offered in the trade. The Yellow (Mulloicichthys martinicus) (2) and Spotted (Parupeneus maculatus) (2) Goatfishes make great aquarium specimens given sufficient substrate and food. Constantly active, these fishes require frequent refueling, a few times of day with meaty foods.

Ecotype: Goatfishes utilize their jaw barbels to root around in the bottom sand/gravel for food in rubble and shallow reef areas.

Mulloidichthys martinicus (Cuvier 1829), the Yellow Goatfish. Tropical west Atlantic. To sixteen inches in length. One in St. Lucia, the others off the Bahamas. An occasional import from Caribbean collectors.

Pseudupeneus maculatus (Bloch 1793), the Spotted Goatfish. Tropical west Atlantic, including the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. To about a foot in length. An occasional catch/import for the aquarium interest. Some out during the day in the Bahamas, and one at night in Bonaire.

Sea Chubs, Family Kyphosidae. Though they're certain to lose in beauty contests, the Chubs or Rudderfishes, more than make up for a lack of good looks in spunk. Occasionally wholesalers will carry (because collectors catch and ship them) the Bermuda (Kyphosus sectatrix) (2) and the Yellow (K. incisor) (2) Chubs in small numbers. These are very active, open water herbivores that require frequent feedings.

Ecotype: Swim in mid- and upper water above reefs to open ocean.

Kyphosus sectatrix (Linnaeus 1766), the Bermuda Sea Chub. West and eastern Atlantic coasts, mid-latitudes to tropics. To 76 cm. Feeds on algae, mollusks, small crustaceans Belize image. 

The Spadefishes, Family Ephippidae. Yes, the same family as the popular marine aquarium batfishes. The Atlantic Spadefish, Chaetodipterus faber (2) makes a hardy, fast-growing captive for very large systems. This fish feeds on anything, ferociously. A real looker, both as young and adults.

Ecotype: Swim in mid- and upper water above reefs to open ocean.

Chaetodipterus faber (Broussonet 1782), the Atlantic Spadefish. Ofttimes sold into the trade from the West Atlantic (found Massachusetts to Brazil), but grows to three feet in length, more than 20 pounds in weight... Aquarium and Bahamas pix.

Left-Eye Flounders, Family Bothidae. Of the many flatfishes found here only the Peacock Flounder, Bothus lunatus (2) is used in any numbers. This camouflage artist is easily kept in captivity given adequate space and meaty feedings.

Ecotype: Shallow broken reef/rubble zones to sand and grass beds, on the bottom.

Bothus lunatus (Linnaeus 1758), the Plate Fish. Tropical eastern and western Atlantic. To eighteen inches overall length. A master of disguise like many flatfishes. Shown here in  Cozumel and Bonaire against a light and above at title on a dark background. Need fine sand to bury in. Feed on small fishes, crustaceans and octopus in the wild. 

Butterflyfishes, family Chaetodontidae. Of the seven species of butterflyfishes found in the TWA, only the four shallow water species (Foureye, Chaetodon capistratus (3), Spotfin, C. ocellatus (3), Banded, C. striatus (3), and Reef, C. sedentarius (1)) and occasionally a deeper water form, the Longsnout (Prognathodes aculeatus) (1) are imported; and not many of these compared to the Pacific. Atlantic butterflies have two strikes against them. They're not as attractive as many chaetodonts found elsewhere, and the first three listed rate only minimally in hardiness. The Reef and Longsnout, and if you're fortunate to run across either the deepwater Doubleband (Prognathodes aya) (1) or Threeband (P. guyanensis) (2), are actually quite mid-hardy and undemanding.

Ecotype: A mix of shallow to deepwater reefs and drop-offs, associated with corals and gorgonian forests.

Chaetodon ocellatus  Bloch 1781, the Spotfin Butterflyfish. Caribbean on south to Brazil. To eight inches in length. A beauty if it would only live. Bahamas pix, the last with an isopod parasite on its operculum. 

Chaetodon sedentarius Poey 1860, the Atlantic Reef Butterflyfish. Caribbean to coast of Brazil. Omnivore that readily adapts to aquarium conditions when started healthy.  To six inches total length. One off of Boynton Beach, FLA.

Chaetodon striatus  Linnaeus 1758, the Banded Butterflyfish. found in the tropical west Atlantic south to Brazils coast. To six inches long. Yet another generalized B/F species from the area that has a dismal captive survival record. Bahamas pic.

Prognathodes aculeatus (Poey 1860), Caribbean Longsnout Butterflyfish. A delicate-appearing deepwater to shallows tropical west Atlantic to Brazil species. A very nice addition to a peaceful biotopic presentation. Generalized omnivore.


To: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11,

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