Spotted Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus (Bleeker 1855)

Other Names: Pixy Hawkfish, Sharp-headed Hawkfish

A Spotted Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC By Attribution

A variably coloured whitish to pink hawkfish with reddish-brown to greyish or bright reddish-orange blotches, a row of smaller blotches along the lateral line, large spots on the spinous dorsal fin including blotches along the fin base, and spotted soft dorsal and caudal fins.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024,

Spotted Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus (Bleeker 1855)

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Shark Bay to south of Evans Shoal, Arafura Sea, Northern Territory, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, QLD to Sydney, NSW; also Ashmore and Holmes reefs in the Coral Sea, Cocos (Keeling) and Christmas islands, Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-Pacific. Inhabits areas of rich coral growth in lagoon, channel, or seaward reefs from below the surge zone to about 40 m - usually on hard corals.


Most likely a protogynous hermaphrodite, living in haremic groups, with a solitary male dominating a small group of females. Spawning occurs in the water column.

Species Citation

Cirrhites oxycephalus Bleeker 1855,  Natuurwetensch. Tijdschr. Nederl. Indië 8: 408. Type locality: Ambon, Indonesia.


Dianne J. Bray


Information on Spotted Hawkfish at:

Spotted Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus (Bleeker 1855)


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

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

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 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. 1855. Zesde bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Amboina. Natuurwetenschappelijk Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 8: 391-434.

Bleeker, P. 1877. Atlas Ichthyologique des Indes Orientales Néerlandaises, publié sous les auspices du Gouvernement colonial néerlandais. Tome 8. Percoides II, (Spariformes), Bogodoides, Cirrhitéoides. Amsterdam : Fréd. Müller 156 pp. pls 321-354, 361-362.

Donaldson, T.J. 1987. Social organization and reproductive behavior of the hawkfish Cirrhitichthys falco (Cirrhitidae). Bulletin of Marine Science 41: 531-540. PDF (open access)

Gaither, M.R. & Randall, J.E. 2012. On the validity of the cirrhitid fish genus Itycirrhitus. aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology 18(4): 219-226.
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.

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293.

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

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 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:37374004

Depth:1-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:8.5 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map