Flame Hawkfish

Flame Hawkfish Neocirrhites armatus

Type of Animal:

Areas w/ coral heads/stones, live coral branches, reef fronts w/ exposure to tidal surge, underwater terraces, coral reefs, found as deep as 82 ft

W Pacific from Ryukyu & Ogasawara islands of Japan as far E as Pitcairn Islands & as far S as Great Barrier Reef

Bright red fish w/ deep highly compressed body & black around eyes/beneath dorsal fin, fairly large eyes

Corals, feather dusters worms, crustaceans, snails, squid, small fish, clams, mussels

Status in Wild:

Breeding in aquariums, aquaculture, & zoos. Captive breeding reducing demand for wild-caught fish.

Solitary or harems of a male w/ 1-3 females. These fish all born female w/ largest most dominant females becoming males.

Additional Info:

Young: Fry
Group: School
Male: 2-2.2 oz
Female: 1.5-1.8 oz
2-3 weeks 

Life Span:
8-10 years

Body Length:
Male: 2.5-3.5 in
Female: 2-2.6 in
Young: 0.5 in

Only member of genus Neocirrhites.
Often seen perching on top of corals/rockwork.
They’re ambush predators.
These fish have very good eyesight.
Get their name due to perching habits, hunting technique, & coloration.
Spawn near water’s surface at night.
Besides using perches for hunting/territory guarding, they use areas around them for hiding.
Also called Brilliant Red Hawkfish, Brilliant Hawkfish, Red Hawkfish, & Scarlet Hawkfish.
Fry start life in planktonic stage.
Males highly territorial, guarding area fiercely.
Use pectoral fins to “sit” on rockwork/corals, almost functioning as pair of arms.

Fun Fact(s):
These fish sometimes seen breaking up fights of other species, especially in captivity.
These fish are very difficult to breed in captivity.
Males sometimes show territorial behavior towards larger females since they can more likely become males, meaning dominant male potentially loses territory/harem.
Interestingly, when 2 males meet, especially if different in size, smaller less dominant one can revert back to female.
They’re very fast in short bursts & need to be kept in tightly sealed tank. They’re also good jumpers.
All hawkfish lack swim bladders making them poor swimmers & causing them to sink when not swimming. This makes them bottom-dwellers.
Due to lacking swim bladders, they can easily make rapid darts upwards & downwards.
One of most popular hawkfish species in aquariums.

1 thought on “Flame Hawkfish

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