Cirrhitus spilotoceps Schultz 1950

Gaither, Michelle R. & Randall, John E., 2013, Reclassification of the Indo-Pacific Hawkfish Cirrhitus pinnulatus (Forster), Zootaxa 3599 (2), pp. 189-196 : 193-194

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Cirrhitus spilotoceps Schultz 1950


Cirrhitus spilotoceps Schultz 1950 View in CoL

( Fig. 4 View FIGURE 4 ; Table 1)

Cirrhitus spilotoceps Schultz 1950: 551 View in CoL , pl. 13 C (type locality, Red Sea).

Material examined. Red Sea: USNM 47598, 181 mm (holotype); USNM 149583, 156 mm (paratype). Port Sudan, BPBM 20733, 2: 136–140 mm. Sanganeb Atoll, SMF 24858, 2: 131–136 mm; SMF 24859, 2: about 115–123 mm (posterior part of body missing on smallest specimen). Saudi Arabia, Al Lith, SMF 34703, 141 mm. Eritrea, USNM 323657, 121 mm.

Diagnosis. Dorsal rays X,10 or 11; anal rays III,6; pectoral rays 14, the lower 7 unbranched and thickened; lateral-line scales 41–43 (usually 42); gill rakers 6–7 + 12–13 (rarely 12), total 16–20; body robust, the depth about 2.7–3.0 in standard length; snout short and blunt; 4 rows of large scales above lateral line in middle of body; 12 or more irregular rows of small scales on cheek; posterior margin of preopercle finely serrate; palatine teeth present; membranes of spinous portion of dorsal fin incised; a tuft of cirri from membrane near tip of each dorsal spine; pectoral fins short, not reaching a vertical at tips of pelvic rays when posterior in position; caudal fin slightly rounded; body dark olive green the scales nearly covered by a dark brown to black spot, grading to white ventrally, with three to four longitudinal rows of irregular white spots, some approximately square, and many dark brown spots of about pupil size; dark brown to black spots on head progressively smaller and more close-set anteriorly; spinous portion of dorsal with large dark brown spots, mainly on membranes; remaining fins with dark spots on rays. Reaches at least 22 cm total length.

Remarks. Lives in outer surge zone of seaward coral reefs or rocky shores, generally in the depth range of 0.3–3 m; wedges itself in crevices in the reef with its thickened lower pectoral rays to withstand the wave action. Found in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Oman.

Schultz (1950) described Cirrhitus spilotoceps from two specimens, both deposited in the U.S. National Museum of Natural History, the holotype as USNM 47598. He gave the locality only as Red Sea. He differentiated C. spilotoceps from the wide-ranging Indo-Pacific C. pinnulatus (Forster in Bloch & Schneider 1801) by having slightly higher lateral-line scale and gill-raker counts and numerous dark brown spots on the head instead of large dark blotches or streaks.

Randall (1995) extended the range to Oman (as Cirrhitus pinnulatus ) from underwater photographs taken at Raysut on the south coast and in the Gulf of Oman.


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History


Bishop Museum


Forschungsinstitut und Natur-Museum Senckenberg














Cirrhitus spilotoceps Schultz 1950

Gaither, Michelle R. & Randall, John E. 2013

Cirrhitus spilotoceps

Schultz 1950: 551
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