COLOR SWAP

Sport Fishing - - FISH FACTS -

My buddy Dan and I were fish­ing off the lava rocks in Kona, Hawaii, this sum­mer and caught all kinds of dif­fer­ent reef fish that we were able to iden­tify after look­ing at pic­tures on­line and local fish-iden­ti­fi­ca­tion charts avail­able on the is­land. But this one we couldn’t find any­where. It looks like some type of trig­ger­fish or uni­corn­fish, but none of them were this color nor had the spike point­ing straight up. I saw one that looked like this washed up on the Pa­cific shore in Cabo San Lu­cas many years ago. Can you tell us what it is? Frank Gou­veia Pleasan­ton, Cal­i­for­nia

It’s no sur­prise you found this one hard to iden­tify, Frank, be­cause it ap­pears you were lucky enough to catch an un­usu­ally pale, color-re­versed spec­i­men of barred filefish, Can­ther­hines dumer­ilii, also known as the yel­low­eye filefish. The more col­or­ful adult males of this species are usu­ally a dark­gray color in the body, with sev­eral lighter ver­ti­cal bars along the flanks that con­trast with their translu­cent yel­low dor­sal and anal fins and the strik­ing yel­low or or­ange tail. On the other hand, ju­ve­niles of this species can be al­most black but are cov­ered in many small white dots. Barred filefish grow to only around 15 inches long. They oc­cur widely through­out the trop­i­cal Indo-Pa­cific, from Mau­ri­tius in the In­dian Ocean and across the Pa­cific from Hawaii to Ja­pan, and as far east as the west coasts of Colom­bia and Panama. They’re bot­tom graz­ers usu­ally en­coun­tered in pairs (one male, one fe­male) at depths of 12 to 100 feet around trop­i­cal is­lands. The species feeds mainly on the tips of branch­ing corals when avail­able, but lucky an­glers have a chance of en­coun­ter­ing them when these switch to other in­ver­te­brate prey such as mol­lusks (as well as sponges and bry­ozoans). —Ben Dig­gles

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Trop­i­cal pomfret

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