Moonlighter, Tilodon sexfasciatus (Richardson 1842)


Other Names: Butterfish, Six-banded Coral Fish, Six-banded Coralfish, Six-banded Sweep

A Moonlighter, Tilodon sexfasciatus, at Portland Breakwater, Victoria. Source: Julian K. Finn / Museum Victoria. License: CC by Attribution

Summary:
Easily recognised by the broad dark bands on the head, body and tail base. Like butterflyfishes of the family Chaetodontidae, small juveniles have an ocellus (false eyespot) on the soft dorsal and anal fins.


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Tilodon sexfasciatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Nov 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/527

Moonlighter, Tilodon sexfasciatus (Richardson 1842)

More Info


Distribution

Endemic to southern Australia from about Wilsons Promontory (Vic) and northern Tasmania, to Jurien Bay (WA). 
Occurs in relatively shallow waters to a depth of about 30 m, and occasionally much deeper. Juveniles inhabit shallow rocky reefs, while adults often occur on deeper coastal reefs. Larger fish are commonly encountered along drop-offs in the southern parts of their range, although they may be seen under jetties in Western Australia.

Features

Dorsal fin X, 20-21; anal fin III, 17-19; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 17; Pelvic fin I, 5; lateral line approx. 80.

Body very deep (57-63% SL), strongly compressed; caudal peduncle shallow; head small (28-36 % HL), dorsal profile concave; snout of moderate length, slightly conical; eyes large (26-36% HL); mouth small, protractile, partly covered by preorbital bones; jaws with bands of long, slender, close set, brush like teeth, outer rows slightly enlarged; preopercular edges finely serrated; edges of opercular and preorbital bones smooth.

Scales small, weakly ctenoid, covering body, fin bases and head, except snout anterior to eyes; lateral line gently curved.
Dorsal fin continuous, outer margin evenly curved, spinous base shorter than soft base, spines moderately long, of similar length, rays becoming progressively shorter posteriorly; anal fin similar to and opposite soft part of dorsal fin, spines strong, second somewhat enlarged, about equal in length to third; caudal fin moderately large, broadly forked. Pectoral fins small, pointed, upper rays longest. Pelvic fins moderately large, inserted below and behind pectoral fin bases.

Colour

Silvery white with broad black vertical bands - one or two crossing caudal the peduncle, posterior-most three on body crossing the sides, and a band on the head through the eye. Juveniles with a white-edged black ocellus anteriorly on soft portion of the dorsal fin and anal fins.

Similar Species

The Moonlighter has been confused with butterflyfishes of the family Chaetodontidae, and is relatively similar in overall appearance and behaviour.

Small Moonlighters are known to set up cleaning stations to remove parasites from other fishes.

Species Citation

Chaetodon sexfasciatus Richardson, 1842, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 10: 26. type locality: Western Australia.

Author

Bray, D.J. 2018

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Moonlighter, Tilodon sexfasciatus (Richardson 1842)

References


Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.
Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2nd edn, 624 pp.

Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2nd edn, 624 pp.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Monodactylidae, Arripidae, Kyphosidae, Girellidae, Microcanthidae, Scorpididae. pp. 596-607 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Biodiversity of shallow reef fish assemblages in Western Australia using a rapid censusing technique. Records of the Western Australian Museum 20: 247-270.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1994. Family Scorpididae. pp. 618-624, figs 544-624 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Butterflyfishes, Bannerfishes and their Relatives. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 208 pp.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.

Macleay, W.J. 1878. Descriptions of some new fishes from Port Jackson and King George's Sound. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 3(1): 33-37 pls 2-5 (as Chaetodon ocellipinnis)

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp.

McCulloch, A.R. 1914. Report on some fishes obtained by the F.I.S. Endeavour on the coasts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South and South-Western Australia. Part 2. Biological Results of the Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavour 1909-1914 2(3): 77-165 figs 1-15 pls 13-34

Richardson, J. 1842. Contributions to the ichthyology of Australia. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 1 10(62): 25-34.

Thominot, A. 1881. Sur deux genres nouveaux de poissons faisant partie de la famille des Squammipennes et rapportés d'Australie par J. Verreaux. Bulletin des Sciences, par la Société Philomathique de Paris 7 8: 140-142 (as Tilodon australis)

Thomson, J.M. 1978. A Field Guide to the Common Sea & Estuary Fishes of Non-tropical Australia. Sydney : Collins 144 pp.

Whitley, G.P. 1931. New names for Australian fishes. The Australian Zoologist 6(4): 310-334 1 fig. pls 25-27 (as Vinculum kershawi)

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37361003

Depth:1-30 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:40 cm TL

Native:Endemic

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CAAB distribution map