Animal Species:Foxface, Siganus vulpinus (Schlegel &Müller, 1845)

The Foxface can be recognised by its distinctive shape and colouration. All the dorsal, pelvic and anal spines have grooves and poison glands.

Foxface, Siganus vulpinus

Jay Cossey © University of Guelph

Standard Common Name

Foxface

Alternative Name/s

Black-face Rabbitfish, Common Foxface

Identification

The Foxface is recognised by its distinctive shape and colouration. It has an elongated snout and concave head profile. Adults have a diagonal black band from the dorsal fin origin, through the eye to the mouth. The breast is covered by a large black triangle. The posterior portion of the body and fins are bright yellow.

The Foxface is classified in the family Siganidae. Fishes in this family are commonly known as rabbitfishes. This is in reference to the distinctive snout shape. Rabbitfishes have several unusual fin characteristics. The pelvic fins have two spines separated by three soft rays. The anal fin has seven spines, more than most other bony fishes.

Size range

It grows to 30 cm in length.

Distribution

This species occurs widely throughout the western Pacific. In Australia it is recorded around the tropical north from Ashmore Reef, Western Australia to the Capricorn Group, Queensland.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Siganus vulpinus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Foxface specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

Juveniles form schools and shelter in coral.

Mating and reproduction

By the time the fish have reached 10 cm in length, they form pairs. These pairs are believed to be maintained for life.

Danger to humans and first aid

All the dorsal, pelvic and anal spines have grooves and poison glands. A wound from any of these spines can be very painful. One species of siganid, Siganus nebulosus (Quoy & Gaimard), has the common name "Happy Moments", a sarcastic reference to the pain endured by people who have not handled this fish with care.

Classification

Species:
vulpinus
Genus:
Siganus
Family:
Siganidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific. Indonesia and adjacent Waters. Penerbit PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama. Pp. 314.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437. (for Happy Moments, S.nebulosus)
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Foxface, Siganus vulpinus, Siganidae, black, grey, orange, odd-shaped, 10 cm - 30 cm, no pattern, coral reef, rocky reef, marine, adult,