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Principal Fishes of the Red Sea Sandy
Reef Slopes: (Species commonly available, and useful for
Marine Catfishes, families Ariidae and Plotosidae: One
species of each family is found in the Red Sea, but of all species of
marine catfishes, only Plotosus lineatus is offered regularly in
|Plotosus lineatus (Thunberg
1787), the Striped Eel Catfish. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea to
Micronesia. Only tropical reef catfish species. To a foot in
length. Dangerously venomous. Keep hands clear when netting,
moving. This group in captivity.
Lizardfishes, family Synodontidae: Below is the species that
is most abundant and commonly imported:
Synodus variegatus (Lacepede 1803), the Reef
Lizardfish. Most common species (out of seventeen) in
Hawai'i. To more than ten inches in length. Red Sea
Pipefishes, family Syngnathidae: There are 26 species of
"Pipes" in the Red Sea, along with six Seahorses (and at
least one Ghost Pipefish, family Solenostomidae). The
"Horses" are best from one of the excellent tank-bred
sources, but a couple of the Pipe species here are available to the
hobby and great from here for real peaceful reef set-ups.
flavofasciatus (Ruppell 1838), the Network Pipefish.
Indo-Pacific; Red Sea, east Africa to the Tuamotus. To five inches
in length. Found amongst dead coral rubble, gravel. Males with blue
spot about anus. Red Sea image.
Herald 1953, the Black-Breasted Pipefish. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea to
Micronesians. To five inches in length. Found in lagoons and
seaward reefs. Red Sea image.
Lion- or Scorpionfishes, family Scorpaenidae:
(Cuvier 1829), The Shortfin Dwarf Lion Indo-Pacific; Red
Sea, east Africa to Samoa, Tonga. To 6 3/4" in length. Eats
small crustaceans in the wild. Here in the Red Sea.
vawl-it-tanz) (Linnaeus 1758), is the Lionfish to most folks. It is the most commonly
displayed and sold member of the family; the quintessential
marine aquarium specimen, with it's long flowing pectoral and
dorsal fin rays. Volitans lions span the color range of banded
red to black against alternating creamy white. Yes, black and red
volitans lions are the same species. These images from the Red
Dottybacks, family Pseudochromidae: The area boasts no less
than a dozen species, of which 90% are only found here. And a few
of these are readily available as tank-bred and raised specimens.
The most common species by far is the Purple or Fridman's
Dottyback, found "spotting" most all overhang areas near the
end of the reef slope and sandy junction. Other faves
|Pseudochromis aldabraensis Bauchot-Bautin
1958, the Orange Dottyback. Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf, down to
Aldabra, over to Sri Lanka. To four inches in length. Shy, but a
great aquarium beauty when kept with suitably larger fish
specimens. Aquarium image.
|Pseudochromis fridmani Klausewitz 1968, the
Orchid Dottyback. Known only from the Red Sea, but cultured in
commercial numbers. To three inches in length. This photo taken in
Sharm, Red Sea.
|Pseudochromis sankeyi Lubbock 1975, the
Striped Dottyback. Gulf of Aden and lower part of Red Sea in the
northwestern Indian Ocean. To three inches in length. Aquarium
|Pseudochromis springeri Lubbock 1975, the
Bluestriped Dottyback. Red Sea endemic, though most specimens
offered are produced in captivity. To three inches in length.
Aquarium images to show variation in color.
Goatfishes, family Mullidae: Great sand-stirrers for large
|Mulloidichthys vanicolensis (Valenciennes
1831), the Yellowfin Goatfish. Indo-Pacific, Red Sea to
Hawai'i. To fifteen inches in length. Here in the upper Gulf of
Aqaba in the Red Sea,
|Parupeneus cyclostomus (Lacepede 1801), the
Goldsaddle Goatfish. Indo-Pacific out to Hawai'i, including the
Red Sea. To twenty inches in length. Yellow form not found in
Hawai'i. Pictured, a group in the Red Sea, and a yellow female
individual in captivity.
Angelfishes, family Pomacanthidae: The smaller species of
pomacanthids from the Red Sea are quite hardy, and numerous when looked
(Playfair & Gunther 1867) , the Multi-Spined Dwarf Angel,
reminds me of a yellowish bodied coral beauty. Coastal Indian
Ocean into the Red Sea, where this one was photographed. To four
inches in length.
(Gunther 1860), the Zebra Angelfish (2). Red Sea along the east
African coast, Mauritius and the Maldives. To six inches overall
length. Male and female shown.
Wrasses, family Labridae. The hardier, more available species
from this part of the Red Sea.
|Bodianus anthioides (Bennett 1832), the
Lyretail Hogfish. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea (where this
picture was made) out to the Tuamotus. To nine inches in length. A
gentle beauty as the genus goes. One and three inch juveniles
and six inch adult in the Red Sea.
|Bodianus axillaris (Bennett 1832), the
Axilspot Hogfish. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea (where this
picture was made) out to the Tuamotus. To eight inches maximum
length. Two inch juvenile in captivity and six inch subadult in the
Bodianus diana (Lacepede 1801), my
wife's namesake-favorite, Diana's Hogfish (1). Well-named
after mythology's Goddess of the Hunt, this species can
become belligerent toward its tankmates beyond it's ten inch
size. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea, where the adult
picture (below right) was taken. Small juvenile in waters about
Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia.
|Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis Springer &
Randall 1974, the Social Wrasse. Western Indian Ocean, including
the northern Red Sea. To three inches in length. Images of
aquarium and Gili Air, Indonesia specimens.
|Paracheilinus octotaenia Fourmanoir 1955,
the Red Sea Eightline Flasher Wrasse. Red Sea in distribution. To
three and a half inches in length. Females and a non- and
displaying male in the Red Sea.
Pseudocheilinus evanidus Jordan &
Evermann 1903, the Pin-Striped or Striated Wrasse (2). I like
this fish's other common names, the Disappearing or Vanishing
Wrasse for its bashfulness. To a grand size of three inches.
Indo-Pacific, including Red Sea and Hawai'i. This one in the
|Pseudocheilinus hexataenia (Bleeker 1857),
the Sixline Wrasse . A feisty, though small (to 4") a reef
tank species. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea in its
distribution. Aquarium and Queensland, Australia images.
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