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Related FAQs: Fishes of Hawai'i, Articles on: The Best Butterflyfishes of Hawai'i, Triggerfishes of Hawai'i

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Hawaiian Marine Biotopes, Part 6

To: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 7,


Bob Fenner



Deep Water Rocky Reefs:

Squirrelfishes, Family Holocentridae: 

            Some squirrels and closely related soldierfishes are found in shallow water, but most of these nocturnal fishes are found below sixty feet in depth, hiding in caves, overhangs, waiting for nighttime to seek out their small fish and crustacean prey. Some have surprisingly wide distribution, you may find them offered from locations throughout the Indo-Pacific.  

Myripristis berndti Jordan & Evermann 1903, the Blotcheye Soldierfish. Indo-Pacific, including eastern Pacific in distribution. To one foot maximum length. Best from Hawai'i.

Myripristis vittata Valenciennes 1831, the Whitetip Soldierfish. Indo-Pacific. To ten inches long. Another under-utilized species available in good numbers. Like most Soldierfishes, feeds on plankton at night. Maldives and QLD, Australia specimens.



Deeper Water Basses, Family Serranidae: 

            Like most members of their subfamily, the Hawaiian anthiines are shy, retiring fishes, that should only be kept in very peaceful, darkened settings. 

Pseudanthias bicolor (Randall 1979), the Bicolor Anthias. Indo-Pacific, Mauritius to the Hawaiian Islands. To five inches in length. Also a hardy large reef aquarium species. One male by itself or with several females. This picture taken in an aquarium.


Pseudanthias ventralis (Randall 1979), the Longfin Anthias. Two subspecies recognized, P. v. ventralis in the western Pacific, P. v. hawaiiensis about Hawaii. Deepwater species, very common between 300-400 feet! Hardy when kept in dim lighted systems. Captive  male and female shown.

Put in pix of male, female/HI


Hawaiian Angelfishes, Family Pomacanthidae: 

            Most all the species and specimens of pomacanthids from HawaiI are deepwater. Of the few marine angel species found here, most should be left in place as they are poor survivors in captivity. Of the two that do live, the Flame is much less money (much easier to collect in greater numbers, shallower waters elsewhere) and the dwarf-dwarf Fishers is not spectacularly beautiful. 

Centropyge fisheri (Snyder 1904), Fisher's Dwarf Angel, is one of the many Hawaiian endemics. This is a "dwarf" Dwarf Angel, usually no more than two inches in length. Closely related to Centropge flavicauda. Hawaii and Johnston Atoll distribution only.


Centropyge loricula (Gunter 1874), the Flame Angel, is a staple in the ornamental marine trade, with some 5,000 individuals collected and sold worldwide every week. Western to central Pacific Ocean.



Centropyge potteri Jordan & Metz 1912, Potter's Dwarf Angel (3), is another fish found only in Hawai'i. When picking one of these out for use, make sure to acquire a well-adjusted individual; I'd wait till it was in captivity a good two weeks. And only try this species in a very well-established reef tank, with peaceful tankmates, AFTER you've become an "advanced" aquarist.



Holacanthus arcuatus Gray 1831, The Bandit, Black-Banded Angelfish, Holo-holo... A beauty and heartbreaker... this angel is so "friendly" it can be caught literally by hand... without a net... but rarely lives for any period of time in captivity. Here's an image of one starting to break down (note brown spot on its flank). Imported from its limited range in Hawai'i.



A Deepwater Hawkfish

The Long-Nose Hawkfish, Oxycirrhites typus (Bleeker 1857), The Hawkfish most hobbyists have seen and want. Found in the Indo-Pacific, including Hawai'i, This superlatively suitable aquarium species reaches approximately five inches in total length. Red Sea image. Not often collected for the trade out of Hawaii cheaper, shallower collected elsewhere.


A Deepwater Butterfly from Hawaii 

Chaetodon (Roaops) tinkeri Schultz 1951, Tinker's Butterflyfish. Mainly found and collected in deep water in Hawaii, but also found in Johnston Atoll, the Marshalls... A hardy species where caught, acclimated properly to captive conditions. Aquarium photo.


Deeper Water Wrasses, Family Labridae: 

            With 34 species the labrids are the most speciose family of Hawaiian fishes, with all modes of nutrition on display zoo- and piscivore, coral-polyp feeder, to parasite-picker. Some are aquarium hardy, some are dismal in their historical survivability.


Anampses chrysocephalus Randall 1958, whose females are typically sold as Red Tail and males as Psychedelic or Psych-Head Wrasses. Gorgeous, but a radical swimmer and jumper that frequently "just dies" overnight. Only found in the Hawaiian Island chain. Female shown in captivity.


Bodianus bilunulatus (Lacepede 1801), the Black Spot Hogfish or Tarry Hogfish to science, is often offered retail. Punctuated distribution in the Indo-west Pacific including Hawai'i, where these images were taken. Three inch juvenile and six inch sub-adults shown. Grows to twenty two inches in length in the wild.


Cirrhilabrus jordani Snyder 1904, the Flame Wrasse. Hawaiian endemic. To four inches in length. One of the hardiest and most beautiful of the genus. Aquarium photo of a male.

 To: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 7,

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