Ringeye Hawkfish, Paracirrhites arcatus (Cuvier 1829)

Other Names: Arc-eye Hawkfish, Arc-eyed Hawkfish, Horseshoe Hawkfish, Ring-eye Hawkfish, Ringeyed Hawkfish, Ring-eyed Hawkfish, Whiteline Hawkfish

A Ringeye Hawkfish, Paracirrhites arcatus, at Carpet Cove, Beqa Lagoon, Fiji. Source: Richard Ling / Flickr. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

A variably coloured hawkfish with a  horseshoe-shaped marking behind the eye, three short orange bars within a pale blue area on the lower part of the gill cover, and usually a broad pale stripe along the rear of the lateral line. The dorsal-fin spines are tipped with branched cirri.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Paracirrhites arcatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/440

Ringeye Hawkfish, Paracirrhites arcatus (Cuvier 1829)

More Info


Off Shark Bay to the Murion Islands and offshore reefs of Western Australia, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, and reefs in the Coral Sea, to the Solitary Islands, new South Wales; also Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean, and Middleton and Elizabeth reefs, and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific from East Africa through the Indo-Pacific, north to Japan, east through the East Indian region to the Hawaiian Islands and Pitcairn Islands, and south to Australia.
Inhabits coastal lagoons and seaward reefs at depths of 1-35 m, but has been reported to 91 m. Individuals usually perch on small branching corals.


Feeds mostly on shrimps, small fishes, crabs, and other crustaceans.


Dark and light colour morphs of this species occur together, each inhabiting different basaltic and coral microhabitats a few metres apart (Whitney et al. 2018).

Species Citation

Cirrhites arcatus Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1829, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 3: 74. Type locality: Mauritius. 


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Ringeye Hawkfish, Paracirrhites arcatus (Cuvier 1829)


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. & Russell, B.C. 1986. Part VII Fishes. pp. 79-103 in Berry, P.F. (ed.). Faunal Surveys of the Rowley Shoals, Scott Reef and Seringapatam Reef, northwestern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 25: 1-106 

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

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 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. & 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. 

Choat, J.H., van Herwerden, L., Robbins, W.D., Hobbs, J.P. & Ayling, A.M. 2006. A report on the ecological surveys undertaken at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, February 2006. Report by James Cook University to the Department of the Environment and Heritage. 65 pp. 

Coker, D.J., Hoey, A.S., Wilson, S.K., Depczynski, M., Graham, N.A.J., Hobbs, J.-PA., Holmes, T.A. & Pratchett, M.S. 2015. Habitat selectivity and reliance on live corals for Indo-Pacific hawkfishes (family Cirrhitidae). PLoS One 10: 1–17.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0138136 PDF Open access

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

DeMartini, E.E. 1996. Sheltering and foraging substrate uses of the arc-eye hawkfish Paracirrhites arcatus (Pisces: Cirrhitidae). Bulletin of Marine Science 58: 826–837.

DeMartini, E.E. & Donaldson, T.J. 1996. Color morph-habitat relations in the arc-eye hawkfish Paracirrhites arcatus (Pisces: Cirrhitidae). Copeia 1996(485): 362–371.

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2 

Francis, M.P. & Randall, J.E. 1993. Further additions to the fish faunas of Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, Southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 118-135.

Greenfield, D. & Williams, I. 2016. Paracirrhites arcatus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T67997869A115453776. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T67997869A68001716.en. Downloaded on 31 July 2018.

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

Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. A comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia. Guam : Coral Graphics vi 330 pp. 192 pls.

Randall, J.E. 1963. Review of the hawkfishes (family Cirrhitidae). Proceedings of the United States National Museum 114(3472): 389-451 figs 1-16 

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. 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., Larson, H.K., Hutchins, J.B. & Allen, G.R. 2005. Reef fishes of the Sahul Shelf. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory Supplement 1 2005: 83-105

Whitney, J.L., Bowen, B.W. & Karl, S.A. 2018. Flickers of speciation: Sympatric colour morphs of the arc‐eye hawkfish, Paracirrhites arcatus, reveal key elements of divergence with gene flow. Molecular Ecology 27: 1479–1493. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14527 Abstract

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37374009

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-35+ m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:14 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map