Harlequin Filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris (Bloch & Schneider 1801)


Other Names: Beaked Leatherjacket, Beaked Leather-jacket, Coral Filefish, Longnose Filefish, Long-nose Leatherjacket, Longnosed Filefish, Orange Spotted Filefish

A Harlequin Filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, at Mary Island, Solomon Islands. Source: Sally Polack / FishWise Professional. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

Summary:

A small slender greenish leatherjacket with rows of yellow spots and dashes along the sides and a small black blotch on the tail. Males have bristles on the tail base. Harlequin Filefish shelter amongst branches of Acropora corals at night. They not only resemble coral branches, but they also smell like them, enabling the filefish to remain undetected by nocturnal predators (Brooker et al. 2014).

Video of Harlequin Filefish spawning in an aquarium.


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Oxymonacanthus longirostris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Sep 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/812

Harlequin Filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

More Info


Distribution

Houtman Abrolhos to the Dampier Archipelago, and offshore reefs of north Western Australia, Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, and the far northern Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea, to the Solitary Islands, New South Wales; also Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, and the Lord Howe Province and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west Pacific: East Africa, Seychelles, Madagascar and Mascarenes east to Samoa, north to Ryukyu Islands and Ogasawara Islands, south to Australia, Lord Howe Island, New Caledonia and Tonga. 

Inhabits clear lagoons and seaward reefs with rich coral cover at depths to 35 m.

Features

Dorsal fin II (2nd spine not visible), 31-35; Anal fin 29-32; Pectoral fin 11-12.

Body elongate, snout elongate, pointed; mouth small, terminal. First dorsal fin origin above eye; pelvic fin rudiment absent; males with slightly elongate bristles on caudal peduncle.

Feeding

An obligate coralivore - usually feeds on polyps of Acropora corals. 

Biology

Forms monogamous pairs.

Fisheries

Although traded in the aquarium industry, Harlequin Filefish are very difficult to maintain in captivity. In the wild, this species feeds on the polyps of Acropora corals.

Conservation

The Harlequin Filefish feeds solely on polyps of Acropora corals, and is therefore highly susceptible to habitat loss due to coral bleaching.

Remarks

Following coral bleaching episodes at Christmas Island, Harlequin Filefish appeared to have disappeared Hobbs et al. 2010). Subsequently, however, Hobbs (2013) found that the Harlequin Filefish fed on Pocillopora corals at Christmas Island when Acropora corals were affected by coral bleaching.

Etymology

The specific name longirostris is from the Latin longus (= long) and rostrum (= beak), in reference to the elongate snout of this species.

Species Citation

Balistes hispidus longirostris Bloch & Schneider 1801, Systema Ichthyologiae :464 (as Balistes hispidus var. longirostris). Type locality: East Indies.

Author

Bray, D.J. 2022

Resources

Atlas of Living Australia

Harlequin Filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

References


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. & 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.

Barlow, G.W. 1987. Spawning, eggs and larvae of the longnose filefish Oxymonacanthus longirostris, a monogamous coralivore. Environmental Biology of Fishes 20(3): 183-194.

Bleeker, P. 1853. Derde bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Amboina. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 4: 91-130 (described as Monacanthus chrysospilos, type locality Ambon, Indonesia)

Bloch, M.E. & Schneider, J.G. 1801. Systema Ichthyologiae Iconibus ex Illustratum. Berlin 584 pp. 110 pls. See ref at BHL

Brooker, R.M., P.L. Munday, S.J. Brandl & G.P. Jones. 2014. Local extinction of a coral reef fish explained by inflexible prey choice. Coral Reefs 33: 891–896. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-014-1197-3

Brooker, R.M., P.L. Munday, D.P. Chivers & G.P. Jones. 2014 You are what you eat: diet-induced chemical crypsis in a coral-feeding reef fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.1887

Francis, M.P. 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. 2019. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean Version: 2019.1  https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4428305

Hobbs, J.-P., Ayling, A.M., Choat, J.H., Gilligan, J.J., McDonald, C.A., Neilson, J. & Newman, S.J. 2010. New records of marine fishes illustrate the biogeographic importance of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Zootaxa 2422: 63-68. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.2422.1.6

Hobbs, J.-P. 2013. Obligate corallivorous filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris) switches diet from Acropora to Pocillopora corals following habitat loss. Marine Biodiversity 43. https:/doi.org/10.1007/s12526-013-0155-6

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S.J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Checklist and new records of Christmas Island fishes: the influence of isolation, biogeography and habitat availability on species abundance and community composition. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 184–202

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. 2001. Monacanthidae. pp. 3929-3947 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Hutchins, B. 2004. Fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 66: 343–398.

Hutchins, J.B., Williams, D.McB., Newman, S.J., Cappo, M. & Speare, P. 1995. New records of fishes for the Rowley Shoals and Scott/Seringapatam Reefs, off north-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 17: 119-123.

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)

Kokita T. & Nakazono A. 1999. Pair territoriality in the longnose filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris. Ichthyological Research 46: 297-302.  

Kokita T. & Nakazono A. 2001. Rapid response of an obligately corallivorous filefish Oxymonacanthus longirostris (Monacanthidae) to a mass coral bleaching event. Coral Reefs 20: 155-158.

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.

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Matsuura, K. 2015. Taxonomy and systematics of tetraodontiform fishes: a review focusing primarily on progress in the period from 1980 to 2014. Ichthyological Research 62: 72-113.

Matsuura, K. & Motomura, H. 2016. Oxymonacanthus longirostris (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T70010721A115476659. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T70010721A70011814.en. Downloaded on 29 October 2018.

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Whiteman, E.A. & Côté, I.M. 2004. Monogamy in marine fishes. Biological Reviews 79: 351-375.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37465062

Conservation:IUCN Vulnerable

Depth:1-35 m

Feeding:Feeds only on coral polyps

Fishing:Aquarium fish (difficult)

Max Size:12 cm TL

Max Size:Reef associated

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map