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Cirrhitidae, the hawkfishes, are a family of marine perciform ray-finned fishes found in tropical seas and which are associated with coral reefs.

The Cirrhitidae were first recognized as a family by the Scots-born Australian naturalist William Sharp Macleay in 1841. It is one of the 5 constituent families in the superfamily Cirrhitoidea which is classified in the suborder Percoidei of the order Perciformes. Within the Cirrhitoidea, the Cirrhitidae is probably the most basal family. They have been placed in the order Centrarchiformes by some authorities, as part of the superfamily Cirrhitoidea, however, the 5th edition of Fishes of the World does not recognize the Centrarchiformes. The name of the family is taken from that of the genus Cirrhitus which is derived from cirrhus meaning a “lock of hair” or “a barbel”, thought to be a reference to lower, unbranched rays of the pectoral fins which Bernard Germain de Lacépède termed as “barbillons”, which means “barbels” in his description of the type species of the genus C. maculatus, and which he thought to be “false” pectoral fins. Another possibility is that the name refers to cirri extending from the tips of the spines in the dorsal fin spines, although Lacépède did not mention this feature.


The following 12 genera are classified within the Cirrhitidae, containing a total of 33 species:

  • Amblycirrhitus Gill, 1862
  • Cirrhitichthys Bleeker, 1857
  • Cirrhitops J.L.B Smith, 1951
  • Cirrhitus Lacepède, 1803
  • Cristacirrhitus Randall, 2001
  • Cyprinocirrhites Tanaka, 1917
  • Isocirrhitus Randall, 1963
  • Itycirrhitus Randall 2001
  • Neocirrhites Castelnau, 1873
  • Notocirrhitus Randall, 2001
  • Oxycirrhites Bleeker, 1857
  • Paracirrhites Bleeker, 1874

Cirrhitidae hawkfishes are roughly oblong in shape with a body which has a depth which is 21% to 50% of its standard length. They have a fringe of cirri on the rear edge of the forward nostrils. There are two poorly developed spines, on the gill cover. The outer row of teeth on the jaws are canine-like, the longest normally being located at the front of the upper jaw and the middle of the lower jaw. Inside this row, there is a band of bristle-like teeth, wider in the front. The dorsal fin is continuous, having 10 spines and 11-17 soft rays, it has an incision separating the spiny and soft-rayed parts. The anal fin contains 3 spines and 5–7, typically 6, soft rays. There are 14 pectoral fin rays with the lowest 5-7 rays unbranched and normally thickened, with deep notches in the membranes separating these lower rays. There is a single spine in the pelvic fins as well as 5 soft rays. The scales are cycloid and they lack a swimbladder. The color and pattern vary between species. The maximum length attained is around 55 cm (22 in), although around 30 cm (12 in) is more typical. Most species are quite small and colorfully patterned. Wikipedia


An image of a Hawkfish



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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vermavkv
    Sep 15, 2022 @ 04:34:46

    nice post.



    • Mohenjo
      Sep 15, 2022 @ 09:40:11

      Thank you! And thanks for your visit.



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