Squirrelfishes


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Squirrelfishes and soldierfishes are members of the Holocentridae family. They are found in the tropical parts of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. They inhabit shallow coral and rocky reefs, seagrass beds, and trawling grounds, from the shoreline to over 100 meters. The squirrelfishes are recognized by their large eyes, spiny-edged operculum, single spine in pelvic fin, forked caudal fin, large and very rough ctenoid scales.

Squirrelfishes feed mainly on large zooplankton, benthic invertebrates and small fishes. They are entirely nocturnal. They are usually cryptic during the day in crevices or beneath ledges of reefs, along with cardinal fishes, bigeyes and sweepers. Their spines are venomous and can inflict painful wound.

There are 8 genera and about 83 species of Holocentridae worldwide. Malaysia has 5 genera and about 16 species.


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Scientific Name: Myripristis hexagona  (Lacepède, 1802)
English Name: Doubletooth Soldierfish, Red-fin Squirrelfish
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 大眼 (Dà yǎn)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Sebekah, Lolong Batu, Lolong-karang Sirip Merah
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาข้าวเม่าน้าลึกทรงเหลี่ยม (Plā k̄ĥāwmèā n̂ả lụk thrng h̄elī̀ym)
Main Identification Features: Body light red to yellowish. Numerous scales at axil of pectoral fins. Outer part of median fins not black. Scales rimmed with brownish red. Leading edges of caudal-fin lobes, soft dorsal and anal fins not white.
Size: Size: Maximum total length about 30 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Coral and rocky reefs, to 40 m depth. Nocturnal fish hiding in caves or beneath ledges in small groups during the day. Feed mainly on zooplankton at night.






Scientific Name: Sargocentron rubrum  (Forsskål, 1775)
English Name: Redcoat, Red Striped Squirrelfish
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 大眼 (Dà yǎn)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Lolong, Lolong Batu, Sebekah-karang Sirip Hijau
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลากระรอกลายแดง (Plāk ra rxk lāy dæng)
Main Identification Features: Body with subequal stripes of brownish red and silvery white. Spinous dorsal membranes with white tips and white middle. Tips of second to fourth soft pelvic-fin rays darker. Dark blotches at soft dorsal and anal bases.
Size: Size: Maximum total length about 32 cm, commonly to 27 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Coral and rocky reefs, to 85 m depth. Nocturnal fish hiding in caves or beneath ledges in small groups during the day. Feed on benthic crabs, shrimps and fishes at night.





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