Animal Species:Trumpetfish, Aulostomus chinensis (Linnaeus, 1766)
The Trumpetfish has a long slender body. There are several colour forms. The species is a 'stealth' predator.
Standard Common Name
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.
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. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
The species is found on coral reefs.
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.
There is only one species in the genus Aulostomus.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Seahorses, Pipefishes and their Relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes. TMC Publishing Pp. 240.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.
Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow
Tags fishes, ichthyology, Trumpetfish, Aulostomus chinensis, Aulostomidae, long and skinny, stealth predator, tubular snout, minute teeth, barbel, brown, green, pale stripes, stripes or bands, white spots, dots/spots, 30 cm - 1 m, tropical water, marine, coral reef,