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Species profile—Cyprinocirrhites polyactis (lyretail hawkfish)


Animalia (animals) → Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) → Cirrhitidae (hawkfishes) → Cyprinocirrhites polyactis (lyretail hawkfish)

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Species details

Animalia (animals)
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Cirrhitidae (hawkfishes)
Scientific name
Cyprinocirrhites polyactis (Bleeker, 1874)
Common name
lyretail hawkfish
WildNet taxon ID
Conservation significant
Wetland status
Wetland Dependant Species
Pest status
The lyretail hawkfish varies from pink to orange to brown in colour. It has a greatly elongated first dorsal ray (in the middle of the fin along the spine) and long lower pectoral rays behind the gills. The tail is half-moon shaped with long upper and lower rays. It has numerous short filaments (cirri) at the tip of each dorsal spine along the backbone. This fish grows to a length of 15cm. It differs from other Australian hawkfish species by having a shorter snout and the half-moon shaped tail fin.
The species occurs in tropical and warm temperate marine waters of the Indo-west Pacific. In Australia, it is known from Western Australia and from the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland to southern New South Wales.
Distributional limits
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Species environment
The species inhabits rubble areas on coral reefs and inshore waters. The lyretail hawkfish is also commonly found in deep water in sponge habitats.
Most Australian hawkfish species are usually seen on the bottom; however the lyretail hawkfish is often found swimming high above the bottom where it feeds on zooplankton.
The lyretail hawkfish feeds on zooplankton.
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. 1346. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood.
McGrouther, M. (2005). Find a Fish: Lyre-tail Hawkfish, Cyprinocirrhites polyactis Bleeker, 1875. Australian Museum, Sydney, accessed 16/10/2008, [].
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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Last updated
20 May 2024