Blotched Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys aprinus (Cuvier 1829)

Other Names: Red Barred Hawkfish, Threadfin Hawkfish

A Blotched Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys aprinus, at Clifton Gardens, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

A whitish hawkfish with large reddish to brown blotches on sides extending onto dorsal fin, a pale-edged dark spot on upper edge of gill cover, 3-4 dark bars radiating from each eye, and tufts of filaments on the tips of the dorsal-fin spines.

Cite this page as:
Cirrhitichthys aprinus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 Feb 2024,

Blotched Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys aprinus (Cuvier 1829)

More Info


Recorded in Australia from the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, to the Timor Sea, E of Margaret Harries Bank, Northern Territory, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to Jervis Bay, and perhaps further south to Merimbula, New South Wales; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Indian Ocean, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and Lord Howe Island, Tasman Sea. The species occurs elsewhere in the tropical, east-Indo-west Pacific. 
Often seen singly or in small groups perching on corals, sponges, sea tulips and other invertebrates. 


Possibly a protogynous hermaphrodite (Sadovy & Donaldson 1995). Spawns in the water column. 

Similar Species

Differs from Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus in having a conspicuous ocellated spot on the gill cover, and in lacking spots on the tail.

Species Citation

Cirrhites aprinus Cuvier, 1829, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 3: 76. Type locality: Timor.

Blotched Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys aprinus (Cuvier 1829)


Allen, G.R. 1985. Fishes of Western Australia. Book 9. pp. 2207-2534 526 pls in Burgess, W.E. & Axelrod, H.R. (eds). Pacific Marine Fishes. Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications.

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Bleeker, P. 1853. Derde bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Amboina. Natuurwetenschappelijk Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch IndiĆ« 4: 91-130. (p. 106, described as Cirrhites graphidopterus)

Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1829. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 3 500 pp., pls 41-71.

Donaldson, T.J. & Colin, P.L. 1989. Pelagic spawning of the hawkfish Oxycirrhites typus (Cirrhitidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 24(4): 295-300. Abstract

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp.

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

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

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

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 2. Fusiliers - Dragonets, Caesionidae - Callionymidae. Australia : Zoonetics pp. 304-622.

Randall, J.E. 1963. Review of the hawkfishes (family Cirrhitidae). Proceedings of the United States National Museum 114(3472): 389-451.

Randall, J.E. 2001. Cirrhitidae, Cheilodactylidae. pp. 3321-3330 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2

Sadovy, Y. & Donaldson, T.J. 1995. Sexual pattern of Neocirrhites armatus (Cirrhitidae) with notes on other hawkfish species. Environmental Biology of Fishes 42(2): 143-150. Abstract

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37374001

Depth:5-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:9 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map