Family AULOSTOMIDAE


Common name: Trumpetfishes

Silhouette

Summary:
Trumpetfishes are voracious marine predators with a small mouth at the end of a long tubular snout, and a series of isolated dorsal-fin spines along the back. These solitary fishes often hide amongst schools of other fishes or in a head-down position amongst gorgonian corals.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson, Trumpetfishes, AULOSTOMIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Nov 2017, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/family/57

More Info


Family Taxonomy

Small family with a single genus, Aulostomus, and three recognised species. A single species, Aulostomus chinensis occurs in Australian waters.

Family Distribution

Found worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters. They live on protected coral or rocky reefs, including silty inshore reefs to clear outer reefs. Juveniles often inhabit seagrass and soft coral areas; typically found on shallow reefs, between depths of 3-122 m.

Family Description

Meristics: D VIII–XII, 22–27; A 23–28; P 15–16; V 6; C 20; Vert 59–64 (24-26 abdominal + 35-38 caudal); BR 4.

Head and body: Body long, slender, compressed; snout very long, tubular; mouth small, terminal, oblique; teeth minute; caudal peduncle elongate; symphysis of the lower jaw (chin) with a small fleshy barbel; anus far behind pelvic fins.

Fins: Dorsal fin a series of isolated spines preceding a normal, short-based soft dorsal fin; soft dorsal and anal fins opposite, similar in shape; pectoral fins small, short-based, ventrally on side of body; pelvic fins small, abdominal, about midway along body; caudal fin rounded.

Skin, scales, lateral line: Body covered in small ctenoid (rough) scales, head and anterior part of dorsal surface usually naked; lateral line well developed.

Family Size

Although trumpetfishes reach a total length of 80 cm TL, most individuals grow to about 40 cm in length.

Family Colour

Trumpetfishes can change colour to blend into their surroundings.

Family Feeding

These swift ambush predators feed on small fishes and shrimps. Trumpetfishes swim slowly, relying on stealth and camouflage to approach their prey. They may remain motionless, often in a head-down position, until prey itmes approach. Alternatively, they often swim alongside, behind or below larger fishes, or even swim in shadows and hide in fish schools. To appear smaller, they may approach their prey head-on.

Family Reproduction

The sexes are separate, and fertilisation is external. Trumpetfishes are pelagic spawners, and the eggs and larvae have been described.

Family Commercial

Although trumpetfishes are of no commercial importance, they are taken as incidental bycatch in small artisinal fisheries and are eaten occasionally by local populations. They are also sought for sale in the aquarium industry.

Family Remarks

Males seem to be territorial and have been seen chasing other males away.

Author

Dianne J. Bray & Vanessa J. Thompson

References


Allen, G.R., R.C. Steene & M. Orchard. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. 2nd Ed. Christmas Island Natural History Association, 284 p.

Bowen, B.W., A.L. Bass, L.A. Rocha, W.S. Grant & D.R. Robertson. 2001. Phylogeography of the trumpet fishes (Aulostomus spp.): ring species complex on a global scale. Evolution 55(5): 1029-1039.

Fritzsche, R.A. & K.G. Thiesfeld. 1999. Family Aulostomidae, Fistulariidae, Macrorhamphosidae, Centriscidae. pp. 2277–2282. In Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem, (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Vol 4. FAO, Rome.

Heemstra, P.C. 1986. Aulostomidae. p. 444. In M.M. Smith & P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland Press, Sydney. 433 pp, figs.

Kuiter, R. H. 2009. Seahorses and their relatives. Aquatic Photographics, Seaford, Australia. 333 p.

Michael, S.W. 2001. Reef Fishes Volume 1: A guide to their identification, behaviour and captive care. TFH Publications Inc., New Jersey, USA.

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the world. 4th Ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey. 601 p.

Paulin, C., A. Stewart, C. Roberts & P. McMillan. 1989. New Zealand fish: a complete guide. National Museum of New Zealand Miscellaneous Series 19. xiv+279 p.

Paxton, J.R. , J.E. Gates, D.J. Bray & D.F. Hoese. 2006. Aulostomidae. In Hoese, D.F., D.J. Bray, J.R. Paxton, G.R. Allen, Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells (Eds). Zoological catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Fishes. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing, Australia. Part 2.

Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Publishing, Bathurst, Australia.

Walker, H.J. 2000. Aulostomidae (Trumpetfishes), p. 198-202. In Leis, J.M. & B.M. Carson-Ewart. (eds.). The larvae of the Indo-Pacific coastal fishes. An identification guide to marine fish larvae. Brill, Leiden. 850 p.

Wheeler, A.C. 1955. A preliminary revision of the fishes of the genus Aulostomus. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (12)8(92): 613–623.