Spinefoots or rabbit fishes are members of the Siganidae family. They are found in the Indo-Pacific and eastern Mediterranean oceans, living in shallow coastal waters to a depth of 50 meters. They can be recognized based on pelvic fins with 2 spines (one strong inner and one outer spine, with 3 soft rays in between).
Spinefoots are diurnal herbivores that feed on benthic algae. They can be found living in pairs or in school of up to 15 fishes. They have very sharp and venomous spine on the dorsal, anal and pelvic fins. The spines can cause a very sharp pain, bleed and numbness but they are not fatal. Handling of the fish with hand is done by holding the gill covers.
Rabbit fish is used for praying during the Chinese New Year in the month of January or February. They are said to taste best during the Chinese New Year which otherwise is bitter in taste and pungent in smell.
There is only a single genus and 32 species worldwide. In Malaysia there are 17 species of spinefoots.