Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    cruentatus
    Genus
    Heteropriacanthus
    Family
    Priacanthidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The Blotched Bigye grows to 32 cm in length.

Introduction

The Blotched Bigeye inhabits shallow reefs and spends its days hiding in caves. They are nocturnal and feed at night on zooplankton such as shrimp, larval fishes, and small squids and octopuses.

Identification

The Blotched Bigeye can be recognised by its reddish colouration, large eye, relatively symmetrical body shape, and by the small elliptical spots on the soft dorsal, anal and caudal fins. It has a scaleless preopercular margin that is covered with small ridges.

H. cruentatus is the only species in the genus Heteropriacanthus.

Habitat

Like all bigeyes it is usually found sheltered in caves and under ledges during the day.

Distribution

The species is found worldwide in tropical seas.

In Australia it is recorded from the central coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the continent, and south to northern 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.

Heteropriacanthus cruentatus

Ozcam map of Blotched Bigeye specimens in the Australian Museums. http://ozcam.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=heteropriacanthus%20cruentatus&zoom=off#mapView

Feeding and diet

It feeds on zooplankton at night.

References

  1. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  2. Paxton, J.R., D.F. Hoese, G.R. Allen & J.E. Hanley. 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia Vol.7 Pisces Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Survey. Pp. i-xii, 1-665.
  3. Starnes, W.C. 1988. Revision, phylogeny and biogeographic comments on the circumtropical marine percoid fish family Priacanthidae. Bulletin of Marine Science. 43(2):117-203.
  4. Starnes, W.C. Priacanthidae. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem. 1999. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 4. Bony fishes part 2 (Mugilidae to Carangidae). FAO. Rome Pp. iii-v, 2069-2790.