Fun Mexican Hogfish Facts For Kids

Hannah Bowyer
Nov 18, 2022 By Hannah Bowyer
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
The colorful Mexican hogfish facts on the search for food among the coral reef.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

The bodianus diplotaenia, also known as the Mexican hogfish or Vieja Mexicana is one out of 400 species of fish we call wrasses. They inhabit sandy areas and coral reefs that range from a shallow 5 m (16 ft) to a deep 75 m (246 ft) These fish are quite common and distinctive, especially in Eastern Pacific waters.

There are many fascinating scientific facts about this species like its distribution, changing sex, and description among different phases, which you will discover in this article.

If you enjoyed learning about the Mexican hogfish in this article, check out our articles on bonito fish facts and monkfish facts.

Mexican Hogfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Mexican hogfish?

The Mexican hogfish (bodianus diplotaenia) is a type of fish from the family Labridae, also referred to as wrasses.

What class of animal does a Mexican hogfish belong to?

The Mexican hogfish (bodianus diplotaenia) is a species of fish abundant in the Eastern Pacific waters that range from a very limited part of Baja California to mainland Mexico, to Chile, and other neighboring islands like the Galapagos Islands.

How many Mexican hogfishes are there in the world?

There is no recorded number of these wrasses known as Vieja Mexicana. However, they fall under the IUCN category of Least Concern, and their population trend is stable.

Where does a Mexican hogfish live?

Like all species of fish, the Mexican hogfish lives in the ocean. Their species is known to be an effective hunter of invertebrates, which provides them with sustenance.

What is a Mexican hogfish's habitat?

The Mexican hogfish habitat ranges from shallow sandy areas and coral reefs with depths of 246.06 ft (75 m).

Who do Mexican hogfish live with?

Mexican hogfish (bodianus diplotaenia) are quite solitary and non-schooling except for when they mate. They can hide alone for long periods of time especially when they are aware of creatures that threaten their life like sharks and bigger species of fish that search for food nearby.

How long does a Mexican hogfish live?

The Mexican hogfish lifespan is 11 years on average.

How do they reproduce?

The Mexican hogfish (Bodianus diplotaenia) spawn on nearshore and offshore reefs. Large adult males can spawn with about 10-15 adult female fishes in their territory.

The spawning happens externally and in pairs, usually during the night. They lay eggs that develop into larvae before hatching. The female Mexican Hogfish can turn into a male if the distribution of gender is not equal in their territory.

Spawning season is from November to June of each year and the peak months for spawning are  December to April.

What is their conservation status?

The Mexican hogfish (bodianus diplotaenia) has a conservation status of Least Concern.

Mexican Hogfish Fun Facts

What do Mexican hogfish look like?

Rosy scales fairy wrasse

We've been unable to source an image of a Mexican hogfish and have used an image of a Rosy scales fairy wrasse instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Mexican hogfish, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

Mexican hogfish or Vieja Mexicana, like most wrasses, tend to change form in each phase of their life, but some common traits you will recognize in every phase are their compressed body, canine teeth at both top and the bottom jaw, 10 dorsal fins, and 12 anal fins.  

In the initial phase, they have a reddish-brown base with hints of yellow on their posterior and caudal fin, with black stripes that may or may not be broken. The juveniles look similar, but with a yellow base.

In the terminal phase, they turn bluish-green with a brown head, a white lower jaw, and a yellowish bar perfectly positioned in the middle of their side.

The adult males have a pronounced hump between their eyes which resembles a hog's snout, hence the name Mexican hogfish.

How cute are they?

This would depend on each individual's preference, but based solely on the name and description of the Mexican hogfish, larger males have a snout-like head that resembles a hog, which would make them look more odd than cute. Imagine a hog living in the reef. It's kind of like seeing a fish out of water.

How do they communicate?

Mexican hogfish or Vieja Mexicana communicate just like other deepwater and reef fish, through sound, motions, and in the case of hogfish,  changes in color.

How big is a Mexican hogfish?

The common Mexican hogfish size is 13-30 in (35-76 cm) in length and 24 in (60 cm) in height, just about the same length as a medium-sized dog.

How fast can a Mexican hogfish swim?

There is no maximum recorded speed for the Vieja Mexicana. However, there's a chance they swim quite fast to be able to catch prey such as shrimp and crabs.

How much does a Mexican hogfish weigh?

The Vieja Mexicana or Mexican hogfish weighs 19.54 lb (9 kg), just as heavy as a house cat.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no difference in the name for the male and female names for Vieja Mexicana or Mexican hogfish. In fact, all of them are born female, who can become male later in life, the proper term for this is hermaphrodite.

What would you call a baby Mexican hogfish?

There is no specific name for baby Vieja Mexicana or Mexican hogfish.

What do they eat?

Mexican hogfish feed on ectoparasites like sea stars, sea cucumbers, and sea urchins, as well as crustaceans like shrimp and crabs. They search for feed in the depths of rocky reefs at night, and in the sand during the day.

Are they dangerous?

They are more or less harmless to us humans, but interestingly, they show aggression towards species that closely resemble themselves.

Would they make a good pet?

Keeping fish as family pets isn't uncommon at all. But note that Mexican hogfish can be quite shy when first introduced to an aquarium. They love to swim, so it is important to have ample, functional space in the aquarium for them to move around, and also some live rocks or crevices where they can hide.

Did you know...

These wrasses are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning the adult females can undergo a sex change if there is a need for functional males in the territory.

There is no difference between streamer hogfish and Mexican hogfish. They are one and the same. You can also call it the Pacific hogfish, or Vieja Mexicana.

Is the Mexican hogfish a type of parrotfish? The answer is no, but it is a common misconception because of their similar features. However, they are closely related.

A Mexican hogfish is also not a type of snapper.

Why is it called a Mexican hogfish?

The bodianus diplotaenia (Mexican hogfish) got its name because it can be found in the large inlet of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, enclosed by mainland Mexico on the east, and Baja, California on the west. In Mexico, this species of fish is known as Vieja Mexicana.

The word hog also comes from the fact that the adult male's head has a hump between the eyes which resembles a hog's snout.

Are Mexican hogfish endangered?

The Mexican hogfish species are not endangered, and there are set rules for hogfish management in the Pacific waters of the Gulf Of Mexico to keep it that way.

In 2013, the maximum limit of local hogfish allowed to be caught on the east coast was exceeded due to overfishing, and the Gulf Council is making sure it does not happen again in the future. The most recent limit for fishing hogfish in the Florida area range from one to five fish per person per day.

Exceeding the annual catch may lead to a sudden closure to the fishing season.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our koi facts and longhorn cowfish facts pages.

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

eastern pacific gulf of california chile cocos malpelo revillagigedo the galapagos islands

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Written by Hannah Bowyer

Bachelor of Communication specializing in Media Arts Production, Communication, and Media Studies

Hannah Bowyer picture

Hannah BowyerBachelor of Communication specializing in Media Arts Production, Communication, and Media Studies

A fitness enthusiast with a passion for helping people find their best selves, Hannah is a qualified personal trainer who is currently training to be a yoga instructor. She is also knowledgeable about mindfulness and meditation. Hannah has lived and worked in many different countries across Asia and the Americas over the last four years, and loves to write about her travels. Her dynamic nature is reflected in her love for running, whether it's towards a plane or a personal best.

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