Hawai'i Coral Reef Network

Marine Fishes of Hawai'i

Moorish Idol

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Family Synodontidae - lizardfishes

Genera: Synodus

Family Muraenidae - moray eels

Key features: gill openings restricted to a small hole; pectorals and pelvics absent; most with long fang-like teeth; nocturnal piscivores.

Genera: Gymnothorax

Family Aulostomidae - trumpetfishes

Genera: Aulostomus

Family Fistulariidae - cornetfishes

Genera: Fistularia

Family Holocentridae - squirrelfishes & soldierfishes

Key features: squirrelfishes with a strong spine on the preoperculum (sometime venomous) and a long anal spine; soldierfishes lack the preopercular spine and long anal spine; both are nocturnal feeding on zooplankton associated with coral reefs; usually found hiding in cracks and crevices on the reef during the day; some species make sounds with specialized swimbladders.

Genera: Sargocentron, Neoniphon, Myripristis

Family Scorpaenidae - scorpionfishes

Genera: Scorpaena, Iracundus, Scorpaenopsis

Family Serranidae - sea basses

Key features: opercle with three spines; spinous and soft dorsal fins continuous; posterior soft dorsal and anal fin rounded; caudal fin usually rounded; usually hermaphroditic with some species being functional hermaphrodites; can grow to 3 m length and up to about 900 pounds but most species much smaller; frequently consume other fishes.

Genera: Cephalopholis

Family Priacanthidae - bigeyes/glasseyes

Genera: Priacanthus

Family Apogonidae - cardinal fishes

Key features: two separate dorsal fins; body spindle shaped; eyes large; most species are nocturnal; most species are mouth brooders with either the male or female doing the brooding depending upon species; feed on small invertebrates and fishes.

Genera: Apogon

Family Cirrhitidae - hawkfishes

Genera: Cirrhitus, Paracirrhites

Family Lutjanidae - snappers

Key features: dorsal fins continuous or with shallow notch; caudal fin truncate to deeply forked; moderately large mouth; enlarged canine teeth common; maximum size to about 1 m; live near the bottom to 500 m depth; important food fishes but a common source of ciguatera.

Genera: Lutjanus

Family Lethrinidae - emperors

Key features: dorsal fin continuous; only one species occurs in the Atlantic Ocean; generalized carnivores; shy; highly prized food fish in some areas.

Genera: Monotaxis

Family Kyphosidae - chubs or rudderfish

Genera: Kyphosus

Family Mullidae - goatfishes

Genera: Mulloidichthys (Mulloides), Parupeneus

Family Chaetodontidae - butterflyfishes

Key features: body strongly compressed; mouth small, terminal, protractile; brightly colored with vertical eye-strip common as well as "eyespot" near the caudal peduncle; most species live in less than 20m of water, many butterflyfishes feed on coral polyps and other small invertebrates without breaking off parts of the coral skeleton; male-female pairing common.

Genera: Chaetodon, Forcipiger

Family Pomacanthidae - angelfishes

Key features: closely related to butterflyfishes; strong spine on the preopercle; body compressed; many species brightly colored with adults and juveniles being colored differently; shallow water residents (usually <20m); feed primarily on small reef invertebrates.

Genera: Holacanthus, Centropyge

Family Pomacentridae - damselfishes

Key features: single nostril on each side, body usually compressed; depending upon species food includes algae, small benthonic reef animals, and zooplankton; some species territorial; parental care of eggs by males.

Genera: Abudefduf, Plectroglyphidodon, Stegastes, Dascyllus, Chromis

Family Labridae - wrasses

Key features: Mouth protractile, jaw teeth usually separate; sexual dichromatism and dimorphism common; important cleaner fishes; diet frequently contains benthonic molluscs and crustaceans; some species are sequential hermaphrodites.

Genera: Cheilinus, Labroides, Bodianus, Coris, Thalassoma, Gomphosus, Stethojulis, Halichoeres

Family Scaridae - parrotfishes

Key features: Mouth non-protractile, jaw teeth usually coalesced into beak; sexual dichromatism and dimorphism common; some species are sequential hermaphrodites; most species are herbivorous usually grazing on dead coral substrate and are hence an important source of bioerosion on coral reefs.

Genera: Chlorurus, Scarus

Family Acanthuridae - surgeonfishes

Key features: knife-like blade(s) on each side of the caudal peduncle; important group of coral reef herbivores; some species territorial.

Genera: Acanthurus, Ctenochaetus, Naso, Zanclus, Zebrasoma

Family Blennidae - blennies

Key features: scaleless; mouth not protractile; body tubular; head blunt; some species mimic other species; diet varies depending upon species; the family probably includes many herbivorous species.

Genera: Exallias

Family Balistidae - triggerfishes

Key features: three dorsal spines; plate-like scales; teeth large and few and developed for crushing; many species eat sea urchins.

Genera: Melichthys, Rhinecanthus, Sufflamen,

Family Monacanthidae - filefishes

Genera: Cantherhines, Pervagor

Family Ostraciidae - trunkfishes

Key features: body is encased in a bony carapace; no pelvic skeleton or spinous dorsal; upper jaw not protractile; some species discharge ostracitoxin which is toxic to other fishes.

Genera: Ostracion

Family Tetraodontidae - puffers

Key features: body inflatable; scale-less or with short prickles on belly; four fused teeth in jaws; lack ribs; flesh and especially viscera contains tetraodotoxin which is highly toxic; eggs frequently toxic.

Genera: Arothron, Canthigaster

Family Diodontidae - porcupine fishes

Genera: Diodon

Last update: 1/25/2005