Orangespotted Filefish

Orangespotted Filefish, Cantherhines pullus

The Orangespotted Filefish, Cantherhines pullus, whose common Spanish name is lila colorada, is a species in the Filefish or Monacanthidae Family, known collectively as lijas in Mexico. Globally, there are twelve species in the genus Cantherhines, three of which are found in Mexican waters, two in the Atlantic and one in the Pacific.

The Orangespotted Filefish have deep oblong bodies that are 60 to 65% of standard length. They are an overall dark brown color. They have fine orange longitudinal lines on their head, alternating equal-sized pale and dark stripes on their body that converge at the caudal fin base, and small orange spots covering their body. They have a prominent white spot on their upper caudal base (which is absent in both fish photographed below). Their anal, caudal, and dorsal fins are a transparent yellowish color. Their head has a long pointed snout with a small terminal mouth equipped with strong teeth. Their anal fin has a long base and 29 to 32 rays. Their caudal fin is rounded. They have two dorsal fins; the first has just two spines, is located directly above the eyes, and is relatively straight and robust, the second has a long base and is similar and opposite the anal fin, with 33 to 36 rays. Their pectoral fins have 13 rays (a key to identification) and their pelvic fins are minute. Their lateral line is inconspicuous. They are covered with minute scales and rough skin.

The Orangespotted Filefish are found in coral and rocky reefs at depths up to 175 feet. They reach a maximum length of 20.0 cm (7.9 inches). They feed on algae and a variety of invertebrates. They are normally found as solitary individuals or in pairs. They are shy fish that quickly take cover in caves and large crevices of the reef. They have the ability to change colors to match their surroundings and avoid predation. They are similar in appearance to triggerfish but their first dorsal spine cannot be locked in place.

In Mexican waters the Orangespotted Filefish are found in all waters of the Atlantic.

The Orangespotted Filefish is easy to identify due to the pattern of bars on its sides which separates it from a series of similarly-colored and similarly-sized filefish.

The Orangespotted Filefish are small and of limited interest to most, however they are one gorgeous fish!

Orangespotted Filefish, Cantherhines pullus. Fish caught off the Anglins Pier, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida, March 2015. Length: 10.1 cm (4.0 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Orangespotted Filefish, Cantherhines pullus. Fish caught off the Dania Pier, Dania, Florida, January 2016. Length: 10.7 cm (4.2 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.