Giant Squirrelfish, Ostichthys japonicus Click to enlarge image
A Giant Squirrelfish. Image: Ian Merrington
© Ian Merrington/DPI Fisheries

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    japonicus
    Genus
    Ostichthys
    Family
    Holocentridae
    Order
    Beryciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species may grow up to 41 cm, but is most commonly approximately 20 cm.

Introduction

The Giant Squirrelfish can be recognised by a combination of characters that include its red colouration, deep body, large eyes and robust ctenoid scales. The Giant Squirrelfish lives in deep marine waters.

Identification

The Giant Squirrelfish can be recognised by a combination of characters that include its red colouration, deep body, large eyes and robust ctenoid scales. It lacks a strong preopercular spine. When viewed from above there is a broad V-shaped gap between the bones of the snout. This is the premaxillary groove.

Habitat

The Giant Squirrelfish lives in deep marine waters (90 m to 194 m) and is sometimes caught by anglers and trawlers.

Distribution

The species is known from scattered localities around the Indo-West Pacific. In Australia it is found on the north-west shelf of Western Australian and off central New South Wales to eastern Victoria.

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



References

  1. Gloerfelt-Tarp, T & P.J. Kailola. 1984. Trawled Fishes of southern Indonesia and north-western Australia. Jakarta: Directorate General of Fisheries (Indonesia), German Agency for Technical Cooperation, Australian Development Assistance Bureau. Pp. 406.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  3. 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.
  4. Randall, J.E. & D.W. Greenfield. 1999. Holocentridae: Squirrelfishes (soldierfishes). in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (eds) FAO species identification guide for Fishery purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 4. FAO Pp. 2225-2256.
  5. Randall, J.E., Shimizu, T & T. Yamakawa. 1982. A Revision of the Holocentrid Fish Genus Ostichthys, with Descriptions of Four New Species and a Related New Genus. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology. 29(1): 1-26, pl. 1-2.