Filefish
Overview
Filefish are tropical to subtropical tetraodontiform marine fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 of the diverse family Monacanthidae. Found in the Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

, Pacific
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 and Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

s, the filefish family contains approximately 107 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 in 26 genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

. Filefish are closely related to the triggerfish
Triggerfish
Triggerfishes are about 40 species of often brightly colored fishes of the family Balistidae. Often marked by lines and spots, they inhabit tropical and subtropical oceans throughout the world, with the greatest species richness in the Indo-Pacific...

, pufferfish
Pufferfish
Tetraodontidae is a family of primarily marine and estuarine fish of the Tetraodontiformes order. The family includes many familiar species which are variously called pufferfish, balloonfish, blowfish, bubblefish, globefish, swellfish, toadfish, toadies, honey toads, sugar toads, and sea squab...

 and trunkfish.

Their laterally compressed bodies and rough, sandpapery skin inspired the filefish's common name; it is said that dried filefish skin was once used to finish wooden boats.
Appearing somewhat like squashed trunkfish, filefish are oddly-shaped fish often with dazzlingly cryptic patterns.
Encyclopedia
Filefish are tropical to subtropical tetraodontiform marine fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 of the diverse family Monacanthidae. Found in the Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

, Pacific
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 and Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

s, the filefish family contains approximately 107 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 in 26 genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

. Filefish are closely related to the triggerfish
Triggerfish
Triggerfishes are about 40 species of often brightly colored fishes of the family Balistidae. Often marked by lines and spots, they inhabit tropical and subtropical oceans throughout the world, with the greatest species richness in the Indo-Pacific...

, pufferfish
Pufferfish
Tetraodontidae is a family of primarily marine and estuarine fish of the Tetraodontiformes order. The family includes many familiar species which are variously called pufferfish, balloonfish, blowfish, bubblefish, globefish, swellfish, toadfish, toadies, honey toads, sugar toads, and sea squab...

 and trunkfish.

Their laterally compressed bodies and rough, sandpapery skin inspired the filefish's common name; it is said that dried filefish skin was once used to finish wooden boats.

Physical description

Appearing somewhat like squashed trunkfish, filefish are oddly-shaped fish often with dazzlingly cryptic patterns. Deeply keeled bodies give a false impression of size when these fish are viewed facing the flanks. Filefish have soft, simple fins with comparatively small pectoral fins and truncated, fan-shaped tail fins; a slender, retractable spine crowns the head. Although there are usually two of these spines, the second spine is greatly reduced, being used only to lock the first spine in the erect position; this explains the family name Monacanthidae, from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 monos meaning "one" and akantha meaning "thorn". Some species also have recurved spines on the base of the tail (caudal peduncle).

The small terminal mouths of filefish have specialized incisor teeth on the upper and lower jaw; in the upper jaw there are four teeth in the inner series and six in the outer series; in the lower jaw, there are 4-6 in an outer series only. The snout is tapered and projecting; eyes are located high on the head. Although scaled, some filefish have such small scales as to appear scaleless. Like the triggerfish, filefish have small gill
Gill
A gill is a respiratory organ found in many aquatic organisms that extracts dissolved oxygen from water, afterward excreting carbon dioxide. The gills of some species such as hermit crabs have adapted to allow respiration on land provided they are kept moist...

 openings and greatly elongated pelvic bones creating a "dewlap" of skin running between the bone's sharply keeled termination and the belly. The pelvis is articulated with other bones of the "pelvic girdle" and is capable of moving upwards and downwards in many species to form a large dewlap (this is used to make the fish appear much deeper in the body than is actually the case). Some filefish erect the dorsal spine and pelvis simultaneously to make it more difficult for a predator to remove the fish from a cave.

The largest filefish species is the scrawled filefish
Scrawled filefish
The scrawled filefish, Aluterus scriptus, is a filefish of the family Monacanthidae. Its length is up to 1.1 m, and it is found on tropical reefs circumglobally to a depth of 120 m.Image:Aluterus scriptus 600.jpg...

 (Aluterus scriptus) at up to 110 cm (43.3 in) in length; most species are below 60 cm (23.6 in) in length. There is marked sexual dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism is a phenotypic difference between males and females of the same species. Examples of such differences include differences in morphology, ornamentation, and behavior.-Examples:-Ornamentation / coloration:...

 in some species, with the sexes possessing different coloration, different body shapes, and the males with larger caudal spines and bristles.

Habitat and life history

Adult filefish are generally shallow water fish, inhabiting depths of no more than about 30 metres. They may be found in lagoon
Lagoon
A lagoon is a body of shallow sea water or brackish water separated from the sea by some form of barrier. The EU's habitat directive defines lagoons as "expanses of shallow coastal salt water, of varying salinity or water volume, wholly or partially separated from the sea by sand banks or shingle,...

s or associated with seaward reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

s and seagrass
Seagrass
Seagrasses are flowering plants from one of four plant families , all in the order Alismatales , which grow in marine, fully saline environments.-Ecology:...

 beds; some species may also enter estuaries
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

. Some species are closely associated with dense mats of sargassum
Sargassum
Sargassum is a genus of brown macroalga in the order Fucales. Numerous species are distributed throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world, where they generally inhabit shallow water and coral reefs. However, the genus may be best known for its planktonic species...

, a particularly ubiquitous "sea weed"; these filefish, notably the planehead filefish (Stephanolepis hispidus) are also coloured and patterned to match their weedy environments.

Either solitary, in pairs or small groups depending on the species, filefish are not terribly good swimmers; their small fins confine the fish to a sluggish gait. Filefish are often observed drifting head downward amongst stands of seaweed, presumably in an effort to fool both predator and prey alike. When threatened, filefish may retreat to crevices in the reef.

The feeding habits of filefish vary among the species, with some eating only algae and seagrass; others also eat small benthic invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

s, such as tunicate
Tunicate
Tunicates, also known as urochordates, are members of the subphylum Tunicata, previously known as Urochordata, a group of underwater saclike filter feeders with incurrent and excurrent siphons that is classified within the phylum Chordata. While most tunicates live on the ocean floor, others such...

s, gorgonians, and hydrozoa
Hydrozoa
Hydrozoa are a taxonomic class of very small, predatory animals which can be solitary or colonial and which mostly live in saltwater. A few genera within this class live in freshwater...

ns; and some species eat coral
Coral
Corals are marine animals in class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria typically living in compact colonies of many identical individual "polyps". The group includes the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.A coral "head" is a colony of...

s (corallivores). It is the latter two habits which have largely precluded the introduction of filefish into the aquarium
Aquarium
An aquarium is a vivarium consisting of at least one transparent side in which water-dwelling plants or animals are kept. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals, turtles, and aquatic plants...

 hobby.

Filefish spawn at bottom sites prepared and guarded by the males; both he and the female may guard the brood, or the male alone, depending on the species. The young filefish are pelagic
Pelagic zone
Any water in a sea or lake that is not close to the bottom or near to the shore can be said to be in the pelagic zone. The word pelagic comes from the Greek πέλαγος or pélagos, which means "open sea". The pelagic zone can be thought of in terms of an imaginary cylinder or water column that goes...

; that is, they frequent open water. Sargassum provides a safe retreat for many species, both fish and weed being at the current's mercy. Juvenile filefish are at risk from predation by tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

 and dolphinfish.

Filefish as food

Filefish is a popular snack food in Korea. It is typically dried and made into a sweet and salty jerky
Jerky (food)
Jerky is lean meat that has been trimmed of fat, cut into strips, and then been dried to prevent spoilage. Normally, this drying includes the addition of salt, to prevent bacteria from developing on the meat before sufficient moisture has been removed. The word "jerky" is a bastardization of the...

 called jwipo
Juipo
Juipo is a kind of a traditional Korean pressed fish jerky sold as a street snack. Made from the file fish , it is dried, flattened and seasoned. Juipo has a subtle sweet flavor. It is traditionally served hot, heated on a burner until it curls.- External links :* *...

(쥐포), which is then roasted before eating.

Species

  • Genus Acanthaluteres
  • Genus Acreichthys
  • Genus Aluterus
    • Dotterel filefish, Aluterus heudelotii Hollard, 1855
    • Aluterus maculosus Richardson, 1840
    • Unicorn leatherjacket
      Unicorn leatherjacket
      The unicorn leatherjacket, Aluterus monoceros, is a filefish of the family Monacanthidae, found around the world in subtropical oceans between latitudes 43° N and 35° S, at depths down to 50 m. Its length is up to 76 cm....

      , Aluterus monoceros (Linnaeus, 1758)
    • Orange filefish, Aluterus schoepfii
      Aluterus schoepfii
      Aluterus schoepfii is a species of fish in the Monacanthidae family. It also commonly goes by the name of Orange filefish....

      (Walbaum, 1792)
    • Scrawled (scribbled) filefish, Aluterus scriptus (Osbeck, 1765)
    • Aluterus velutinus Jenyns, 1842
  • Genus Amanses
    • Broom filefish
      Broom filefish
      The broom filefish, Amanses scopas, is a filefish, the only species in the genus Amanses of the family Monacanthidae. It is also called brush-sided leatherjacket or broom leatherjacket ....

      , brush-sided leatherjacket, or broom leatherjacket, Amanses scopas
  • Genus Anacanthus
  • Genus Brachaluteres
  • Genus Cantherhines
  • Genus Cantheschenia
  • Genus Chaetodermis
  • Genus Colurodontis
  • Genus Enigmacanthus
  • Genus Eubalichthys
  • Genus Lalmohania
  • Genus Meuschenia
    • Smooth leatherjacket
      Smooth leatherjacket
      The smooth leatherjacket or velvet leatherjacket, Meuschenia scaber, is a filefish of the family Monacanthidae, found off eastern Australia and all around New Zealand to depths of about 100 m, on rocky weedy reef areas. Its length is between 25 and 35 cm...

      , Meuschenia scaber

  • Genus Monacanthus
  • Genus Nelusetta
    • Chinaman-leatherjacket
      Chinaman-leatherjacket
      The chinaman-leatherjacket or ocean leatherjacket, Nelusetta ayraud, is a filefish of the family Monacanthidae, found around Australia to depths of about 600 m. Its length is up to 1 m.-References:...

      , Nelusetta ayraud
  • Genus Oxymonacanthus
    • Orange spotted filefish
      Orange spotted filefish
      The orange spotted filefish or harlequin filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, is a filefish in the family Monacanthidae found on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Oceans. The orangespotted filefish is a different species and refers to Cantherhines pullus.The orange spotted filefish is pale blue...

       or harlequin filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris
  • Genus Paraluteres
    Paraluteres
    Paraluteres is a genus in the filefish family ....

    • Paraluteres arqat
    • Blacksaddle filefish
      Blacksaddle filefish
      The blacksaddle filefish, Paraluteres prionurus, is a filefish of the family Monacanthidae. It reaches a length of a maximum 11 cm.The blacksaddle filefish are found in pairs or in small schools and inhabit reefs across the Indian and Pacific oceans....

      , Paraluteres prionurus
  • Genus Paramonacanthus
  • Genus Pervagor
  • Genus Pseudalutarius
  • Genus Pseudomonacanthus
    Pseudomonacanthus
    Pseudomonacanthus is a genus in the filefish family .- Species :* Pseudomonacanthus elongatus, Four-banded leatherjacket Fraser-Brunner, 1940* Pseudomonacanthus macrurus, Strap-weed filefish...

    • Four-banded leatherjacket, Pseudomonacanthus elongatus Fraser-Brunner, 1940
    • Strap-weed filefish
      Strap-weed filefish
      The strap-weed filefish, Pseudomonacanthus macrurus, is a filefish of the family Monacanthidae. It reaches a maximum length of 18 cm.Strap-weed filefish are often found in pairs and inhabit reefs across the Indian and Pacific oceans....

      , Pseudomonacanthus macrurus (Bleeker, 1857)
    • Pot-bellied leatherjacket, Pseudomonacanthus peroni (Hollard, 1854)
  • Genus Rudarius
  • Genus Scobinichthys
  • Genus Stephanolepis
  • Genus Thamnaconus

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK