Crocodilefish, Cymbacephalus beauforti Click to enlarge image
A 40cm long Crocodilefish caught in May 2000, at a depth of 5m at Maricaban Island, Republic of the Philippines Image: Mark McGrouther
© Mark McGrouther

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    beauforti
    Genus
    Cymbacephalus
    Family
    Platycephalidae
    Order
    Scorpaeniformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The Crocodilefish grows to 54 cm in length.

Introduction

The Crocodilefish has a huge head. It is usually seen on sandy or rubble bottoms near mangroves, seagrass or corals.



Identification

The Crocodilefish is a species of flathead (family Platycephalidae) with an intricate pattern, a distinct pit immediately behind the eyes and a concave head margin.

The eyes of the Crocodilefish have iris lappets. These projections help break up the black pupil of the fish, and thus improve its camouflage. Many other species of flatheads such as the Tasselsnout Flathead and Fringe-eye Flathead also have iris lappets.



Habitat

The species is usually seen on sandy or rubble bottoms near mangroves, seagrass or corals at depths ranging from 1 m to at least 30 m.

The fish in the images was caught in May 2000, at a depth of 5m at Maricaban Island, Republic of the Philippines. The site was mostly coral reef, sand, rubble and rocky outcrops.

Distribution

It occurs from the Philippines to New Caledonia.

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



Feeding and diet

It eats fishes and crustaceans.

References

  1. Michael, S.W. 1998. Reef Fishes. Volume 1. A Guide to Their Identification, Behaviour, and Captive Care. Microcosm. Pp. 624.
  2. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.