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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 14, 2021

Black Musselcracker: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Read in some amazing black musselcracker facts.

There are so many mysteries hidden in the ocean! In this article we shall be discussing about the black musselcracker (Cymatoceps nasutus) which is one of those mysteries. Black musselcrackers have facial features similar to a human. They have a big nose and a snout and big lips. They occur in the western Indian Ocean near South Africa. They are slow growing hermaphrodite fishes who have an average body length of 4 ft 11 in (1.5 m) and body weigh 77 lb (35 kg). Fishing is a common and due to their big size and tranquil nature, they become appropriate for fishing and people often catch them.

This was just the beginning. There are lots of fun facts about this fish just waiting for you below. So keep reading!

For more relatable content, check out these neon goby facts and round goby facts for kids.  

Black Musselcracker Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black musselcracker?

The black musselcracker (Cymatoceps nasutus) is a type of fish. This fish species are found in the marine waters near South Africa. They are big in size and are heavy which makes makes them perfect for fishing.

What class of animal does a black musselcracker belong to?

Black musselcrackers belong to the class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, family Sparidae and genus Cymatoceps. The scientific name of this fish species is Cymatoceps nasutus. They are considered to be the only species in the genus Cymatoceps.

How many black musselcrackers are there in the world?

Though black musselcrackers are considered as Vulnerable Species, their total population count is not available. They live in the marine waters near South African coastal areas. And because of their big size, they are involved in fishing and are caught for their meat. And they are not that tough to catch also.

Where does a black musselcracker live?

Black musselcrackers live in the marine waters. They have naturally adapted to both the shallow and deep water habitat. They can be found near the reefs.

What is a black musselcracker's habitat?

The black musselcracker lives in both shallow and deep waters in the South African coast and places nearby. They occur in the western Indian Ocean from Natal to the Cape in South Africa. Musselcracker adults can be found in a depth range of 1-80 m. In some places in Africa, they are called 'poenskop', meaning skin head.

Who does black musselcrackers live with?

Black musselcrackers are big solitary fish species who assemble at special occasions like for breeding. They are involved in fishing for their big size and good quality meat.

How long does a black musselcracker live?

Black musselcrackers are long lived marine animals. They have an estimated lifespan of about 45 years and are found in the ocean near Africa.

How do they reproduce?

Poenskop black musselcracker fishes are hermaphrodites in nature. Hermaphrodites are those species who have the ability to change their gender naturally from male to female or visa versa in their life time. Black musselcrackers generally spawn when it is winter in their habitat. They lay their eggs near the reef and after the incubation period, the baby fishes come out. Baby poenskop fishes are mostly female when they take birth. They are slow growing fishes and with time when they are around 18-20 years old, they turn into males.

What is their conservation status?

Black musselcracker fishes fall under the endangered category of Vulnerable Species. They inhabit the marine waters in the western Indian Ocean areas. Their population has decreased over time due to excessive fishing.

Black Musselcracker Fun Facts

What does black musselcrackers look like?

Black musselcracker species are robust shaped fishes who inhabit the west Indian Ocean near South Africa. This particular species of fish is a bit peculiar looking. The body color of adults is different than their kids. Adults are gray-black in color while the kids are green-black in color. Their fins are also aligned with their body. The dorsal fin and the ventral fins are short at their top and elongated towards their tail. The tail or caudal fin is a bit big. The length of the tail is more in vertical expansion and less in the horizontal expansion. This fish has a magnificent set of teeth.It has four sharp canines in the upper jaw and six sharp canines on the lower jaw. They have strong molar teeth which is uses to crack open the shells as the name suggests.

Due to excessive fishing, the population of this species is at depleting.
*We've been unable to source an image of the black musselcracker and have used an image of an anemone fish instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of the black musselcracker, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected]

How cute are they?

Poenskop black musselcrackers are not at all cute. Rather they are peculiar looking fishes who are big and heavy. People catch them and they are an important part of fishing culture in the cape areas in South Africa.

How do they communicate?

Fishes do not communicate through vocal sounds. Rather they communicate through body language and by creating disturbance in the water or by releasing chemicals like pheromones. All fishes have a lateral line segment organ that helps them in reading even the minimum disturbance that happened in the water.

How big is a black musselcracker?

Poenskop black musselcrackers are big fishes that inhabit South African reefs. Their average body length is estimated to be around 4 ft 11 in (1.5 m) and their average body weigh is around 77 lbs (35 kg).

How fast can a black musselcracker swim?

Black musselcrackers are slow swimmers who people can search near the reefs around the cape areas. There are no exact informations available about their swimming speed in water.

How much does a black musselcracker weigh?

Black musselcrackers are big and heavy fishes. Their body length is estimated around 4 ft 11 in (1.5 m) and their body weigh is estimated around 77 lbs (35 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names assigned to the male and female musselcrackers. They are hermaphrodites in nature like the mangrove killifish.

What would you call a baby black musselcracker?

Like all other baby fishes, they are also called fry or young ones.

What do they eat?

Musselcrackers are primarily carnivorous who eat on invertebrates that are found in their habitat. As the name suggests, they crack open hard shells of crabs, lobsters and mussels and other animals with their hard molar teeth. They also eat sea urchins.

Are they poisonous?

No. Musselcrackers do not bear any poison in them.

Would they make a good pet?

No. They belong to the marine environment and are very big in size. So they cant survive in captivity.

Did you know...

Catching black musselcracker (fishing) for its meat is commonly done in the Natal and Cape areas. Musselcrackers exist can be found in the minimum depth of a meter and can go to a maximum depth of 262 ft (80 m). They can be caught in the reef areas in the ocean near the South African coast.

Are black musselcrackers endangered?

Black musselcrackers are enlisted as Vulnerable Species. It is due to excessive fishing as they are easy to catch.

Do black musselcrackers bite? 

Black musselcrackers are known to have strong molar teeth, which they use to crack open shells for their eating purpose. Humans don't really have a live encounter with them so they aren't often bitten by them.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these parrotfish facts and tilefish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable black musselcracker coloring pages.

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