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Species profile—Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus (spotted hawkfish)


Animalia (animals) → Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) → Cirrhitidae (hawkfishes) → Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus (spotted hawkfish)

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Species details

Animalia (animals)
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Cirrhitidae (hawkfishes)
Scientific name
Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus (Bleeker, 1855)
Common name
spotted hawkfish
WildNet taxon ID
Conservation significant
Wetland status
Wetland Dependant Species
Pest status
The spotted hawkfish is pink to white in colour with almost black to bright-red spots or blotches over the body, tail and dorsal fins. The colour of the blotches is usually associated with depth; they are usually red at greater depth. They grow to a length of 9cm.
The spotted hawkfish is found in tropical marine waters throughout the Indo-Pacific. In Australia it occurs from South Passage to North West Cape, Western Australia (including the territories of Ashmore and Cartier Islands and Scott Reef), and from Lizard Island, Queensland to Sydney, New South Wales.
Distributional limits
0, 0
0, 0
Species environment
The spotted hawkfish occurs in clear shallow coastal waters through to deep offshore coral and rocky reefs, to depths of 40m. They usually occupy reef crests that are often in strong surge zones.
Hawkfish are generally observed perched on their thickened pectoral fins. They sit in this manner on the bottom, while observing their surroundings for food. Hawkfish have excellent eyesight, enabling them to see prey from a long distance.
Most hawkfish feed on small vertebrate prey such as shrimp, worms or fish.
Contributors: Mellisa Mayhew 16/10/2008; Wayne Martin 09/11/2008
Egerton, L. (ed.) (2005). Encyclopedia of Australian Wildlife, (Revised Edition). Readers Digest Pty Ltd, Sydney.
Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. (2006). Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia, Volume 35.2, p. 1345. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood.
Kuiter, R.H. (1996). Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland Ltd, Sydney.
Profile author
Mellisa Mayhew (09/11/2008)

Other resources

Data source

This profile data is sourced from the QLD Wildlife Data API using the Get species by ID function used under CC-By 4.0.

This information is sourced from the WildNet database managed by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
8 March 2022
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