Trumpetfish, Aulostomus chinensis Click to enlarge image
A Trumpetfish at a depth of 18 m, Permuteran, Bali, Indonesia, 1 March 2009. Image: William White
© William White

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    chinensis
    Genus
    Aulostomus
    Family
    Aulostomidae
    Order
    Syngnathiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    80 cm

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



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

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.

Habitat

The species is found on coral reefs.

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.



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 such as the Bluespotted Coral Cod (video below) and the Masked Rabbitfish (top image). Presumably following other fishes allows the Trumpetfish to more easily approach potential prey without detection.



Evolutionary relationships

There is only one species in the genus Aulostomus.

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.