Animal Species:Trumpetfish, Aulostomus chinensis (Linnaeus, 1766)

The Trumpetfish has a long slender body. There are several colour forms. The species is a 'stealth' predator.

Standard Common Name

Trumpetfish

Identification

The Trumpetfish can be recognised by its long body, tubular snout with minute teeth, its chin barbel and the series of short dorsal spines.

The colouration of this species is variable. It is often brown or green with pale stripes and bars, and white spots posteriorly. A yellow (or xanthic) colour variety is common in some areas. Individual fish have the ability to change their colours very quickly.

Size range

80 cm

Distribution

It occurs throughout the Indo-Pacific and eastern Pacific.

In Australia the Trumpetfish is recorded from most tropical waters and down the east coast to central New South Wales.

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

Aulostomus chinensis

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Trumpetfish specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The species is found on coral reefs.

Feeding and Diet

The Trumpetfish uses stealth and camouflage to prey on small fishes. It often approaches its prey vertically, darting down from above and sucking the prey into its long snout.

Other behaviours and adaptations

It is known to sometimes follow other fishes. Presumably following herbivorous fishes such as the Blue-lined Spinefoot allows the Trumpetfish to more easily approach potential prey without detection.

Evolutionary Relationships

There is only one species in the genus Aulostomus.

Classification

Species:
chinensis
Genus:
Aulostomus
Family:
Aulostomidae
Order:
Gasterosteiformes
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. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. TMC Publishing Pp. 240.
  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, Trumpetfish, Aulostomus chinensis, Aulostomidae, long and skinny, stealth predator, tubular snout, minute teeth, barbel, brown, green, pale stripes, stripes or bands, white spots, dots/spots, 30 cm - 1 m, tropical water, marine, coral reef,