4 facts about the orange-spotted filefish

harlequin filefish-coral

By Frances Lam Li Min, diver at S.E.A. Aquarium and team
Photos by Boon Ping Ng, aquarist at S.E.A. Aquarium

Scientific name: Oxymonacanthus longirostris

Animal type: Fish

Diet: Carnivore (Corals)

Size: to 5 inches

Find it at S.E.A. Aquarium’s hard coral exhibit.

In S.E.A. Aquarium’s hard coral exhibit, you’ll find the orange-spotted filefish which has pale blue skin with bright yellow-orange patches. These beautiful fish are commonly known as a harlequin filefish.
Here are four facts about the species which are originally found on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Oceans:

1. Orange-spotted filefish mate for life.

A pair would form a monogamous bond which lasts as long as they are both alive. Other fish that do the same include the French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) and the Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda).

 

2. Not just beauty spots.

The pattern on the orange-spotted filefish’s are not just decorations. It allows them to be camouflaged among the reef to escape from predators.
harlequin filefish closeup

3. They smell like their food.

The orange spotted filefish takes on the smell of the Acropora coral they eat as a way of protecting them from natural predators.
harlequin filefish corals

4. They are “corallivores” which means they eat only corals.

At the S.E.A. Aquarium, the orange-spotted filefish’s favourite corals are cauliflower coral (Pocilloporra verrucosa and Pociloporra vamicornis), finger coral (Motipora digitata), and vase coral (Montipora capricornis).
harlequin filefish eating

 

The orange-spotted filefish at S.E.A.A.

harlequin filefish-coral

You can find the harlequin filefish in the Aquarium at the hard coral exhibit.

Try to spot this pair of love birds. They like to chase one another around the tank, hopping from one coral to another feeding happily on the different polyps.

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