Masked Rabbitfish Click to enlarge image
Masked Rabbitfish at a depth of 20m, Mantis Reef, Wreck Bay, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, December 1999. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    puellus
    Genus
    Siganus
    Family
    Siganidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 38 cm in length.

Introduction

The Masked Rabbitfish is a predominantly yellow coloured fish with a dark band passing through the eye. It is found in tropical marine waters.



Identification

The Masked Rabbitfish can be recognised by its distinctive colouration. The body is yellow dorsally grading through pale blue to white below. It is covered with wavy blue lines that are vertical anteriorly and horizontal posteriorly. The lines are replaced by blue spots ventrally. A dark band passes diagonally through the eye from the chin to the nape. Above the eye, the band is broken into black spots. The fins are yellow.


Trumpetfish swimming with two Masked Rabbitfish
A Trumpetfish swimming with two Masked Rabbitfish at a depth of 9m, Ribbon Reef #5, Great Barrier Reef off Cooktown, Queensland, 23 June 2002. Trumpetfish are known to sometimes swim close to different species of fish. Presumably following herbivorous fishes such as these Masked Rabbitfish allows Trumpetfish to more easily approach potential prey without detection. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Distribution

It is found in tropical marine waters of the eastern Indian Ocean to the Western Pacific. In Australia it is known from off north-western Western Australia and from northern to southern 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.



References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  3. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.