Scrawled filefish [Aluterus scriptus]

The scrawled filefish, Aluterus scriptus, is a filefish of the family Monacanthidae. Its length is up to 1.1 m, and it is found on tropical reefs circumglobally to a depth of 120 m.

Coloration is olive brown to grey with blue lines and spots, while juveniles may be yellowish-brown with dark spots. The body and head has a scattered of small black spots. The body is elongate and strongly compressed. The caudal fin is rounded and long. The gill opening is oblique.

The scrawled filefish inhabits lagoons and seaward reefs, and occasionally are seen under floating objects. Juveniles may travel with weed rafts in the open ocean for a long time and reaching a large size. Adults are usually seen along deep coastal slopes or outer reef drop-offs in about 20 m depth. They feed on algae, seagrass, hydrozoans, gorgonians, colonial anemones, and tunicates.

Picture: Cozumel, Mexico by Sami Salmenkivi

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