| Ecological Descriptors
||Ech, Cru, Mol (Cle)
Terminal Phase [TP] (Male): Body elongated in shape with a relatively long snout. Forehalf of dorsal fin serrated. Fins yellow; a black blotch at front of dorsal fin. Upper 1/2 of rear of head, upper 1/3 of body and front 3/4 of dorsal fin blue-grey to purple to deep red. Rest of head. Body, tail base and tail fin yellow. In these males, the tail is lunate and dorsal and anal fins with extensions.
Intermediate Phase 'IP] ( Female): As per male, but with truncate tail and lacking fin extensions.
Juveniles: Have a purple head and forebody, as they mature, the purple area becomes restricted to the upper forebody.
Adults inhabit rocky or coral reefs. Feed on brittle stars, crustaceans, mollusks, and sea urchins . This species uses its powerful jaws and anterior canine teeth to crush hard shells from meals such as snails.
Juveniles act as cleaners picking parasites from larger fishes. Juvenile Spanish hogfish move in circular patterns around coral heads to advertise cleaner services. The behaviour of the fish changes as they grow in size to about 8cm, when they switch their diet to feeding on invertebrates.
Found in harems with a dominant male (TP) guarding and mating with approximately twelve females (IP). When a dominant male fish dies in a harem, the largest female fish will change sex.
Protogynous hermaphrodite with length at sex change ~17cm. Sex reversal is completed in 7-10 days. which takes up an average of 5.6 days . The eggs are pelagic and development of larvae is rapid . Spawning usually occurs at dusk, and mating takes place all year. Spanish hogfish exhibit no parental care. Distinct pairing during breeding.
Spanish Hogfish TP
Spanish Hogfish IP
(C) Dr P Ryan/ RyanPhotographic