Fun Orange Spotted Filefish Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Jan 11, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Check out these amazing orange spotted filefish facts and get to know more about this coral-eating fish!

The orange spotted filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris) is a small, blue, and yellow fish found in the coral reefs and lagoons of the Indo Pacific Oceans.

They go by many other names such as harlequin filefish, coral filefish, beaked leatherjacket, and longnose filefish. This fish species is one of the 130 or so other species of fish in the world that depend on corals for their food.

For this reason, it has been hard to raise them in a tank or aquarium.

It was assumed that these fish would need live corals to feed on, and so, would not survive in a captive environment.

Due to recent breakthroughs, it has been found that these fish can be shifted to other food in the tank once they are ready to do so and if the transition is facilitated by an expert aquarist.

Although it is now possible to breed them in captivity, their numbers in the wild still stand the risk of greatly declining because of the high risk to the Acropora corals, which they entirely depend on for their diet in their natural habitat.

These corals are highly vulnerable to coral bleaching, which has caused the orange spotted filefish to go locally extinct in Okinawa, Japan.

Thus, they have been given the status of Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List.

If you want to learn more about other fish, check out our humphead wrasse fun facts and redbreast sunfish fun facts pages.

Orange Spotted Filefish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an orange spotted filefish?

The orange spotted filefish is a type of fish found in coral reefs.

What class of animal does an orange spotted filefish belong to?

The orangespotted filefish (Oxymonacanthus longistrosis) belongs to the class Actinopterygii, family Monacanthidae, and genus Oxymonacanthus.

How many orange spotted filefish are there in the world?

Although the exact number of this species of filefish is not yet quantified, their population trend is suspected to be declining owing to their loss of habitat.

Where does an orange spotted filefish live?

The orange spotted filefish is mostly found in shallow coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific Oceans, as well as the reefs and lagoons of the south of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Eastern Africa, Mozambique, Seychelles, Madagascar, and New Caledonia. It inhabits depths of up to 114.8 ft (35 m).

They used to be found in Okinawa, Japan as well but are no longer present there due to the degradation of their habitat there.

What is an orange spotted filefish's habitat?

These fish will be found in the coral reefs as they are dependent on certain species of corals for their diet and survival. Thus, they stay within their territory to feed and rarely leave that area. It nests on clumps of algae that may be present around the base of a dead coral.

As pets, they need to be kept in a tank that can hold at least 30 gal (113.5 l) or a large reef aquarium so that they have plenty of space to swim around.

Who do orange spotted filefish live with?

The harlequin filefish is a monogamous fish species, which means that the male and female pair of this species stays together with their whole life. Both of them share a single territory to feed in and lay their eggs near it.

In a tank or aquarium setting, they might be aggressive towards other filefish and should be placed as an individual or in a pair. They should not have any tankmates from their own genus but may be kept with seahorses.

How long does an orange spotted filefish live?

In the wild, their lifespan has been estimated to be no more than two years, and in an aquarium, they can thrive for more than 1.5 years. Their generation length is suspected to be two years, which is the average number of years between two consecutive generations of a species.

How do they reproduce?

Their courtship in the orange spotted filefish is considered to be quite aggressive, in which the female filefish pokes its head in different clumps of algae to find a suitable place to lay eggs. The male filefish releases its sperms as well, and thus, around 200-300 eggs are formed and deposited onto the algae.

These eggs hatch about 50 hours after they are laid.

What is their conservation status?

The orange spotted filefish feeds exclusively on the Acropora coral, which is highly susceptible to coral bleaching. This threat to the Acropora corals is very likely to affect the populations of this filefish. Therefore, the IUCN Red List has classified this species as Vulnerable.

Orange Spotted Filefish Fun Facts

What do orange spotted filefish look like?

The beaked leather jacket is a gorgeous and bright blue-colored fish with yellow or orange spots in eight horizontal rows across its body. There is slight sexual dimorphism where the dorsal and anal fins of the male filefish are translucent with an orange tinge, whereas the female has clear fins.

These fish have a ventral flap that is orange with a black border around it. The black border is marked with a lot of white spots in the males, and little to no white spots in the females.

How cute are they?

The orange spotted filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris) is a very cute little fish. Its orange-yellow spots only add to its cuteness!

How do they communicate?

There is not much information available about how or whether these species of filefish communicate with each other.

How big is an orange spotted filefish?

The orange spotted filefish (Oxymoncanthus longirostris) is a very small fish and measures only 3-5 in (7.6-12.7 cm) long. However, it is still about two times bigger than the white cloud mountain minnow, but four times smaller than the channel catfish.

How fast can an orange spotted filefish swim?

The swimming speed of these longnose filefish is not yet known.

How much does an orange spotted filefish weigh?

Due to a lack of research, the weight of the orange spotted filefish has not been quantified yet.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The males and females of this species do not have different names.

What would you call a baby orange spotted filefish?

The babies of the orange spotted filefish do not have specific names when they hatch out of their eggs, but can be simply referred to as young orange spotted filefish.

What do they eat?

These fish are famous for being corallivorous in their natural habitat as they feed only on Acropora corals, just like ornate butterflyfish, which also depend on corals for their food.

However, recently aquarists have been successful in weaning them on to an omnivorous diet for captive fish. Thus, in a tank or aquarium, first, they will have to be fed live corals and then gradually shifted onto foods like frozen brine shrimp, frozen Mysis shrimp, marine flakes, and pellets.

They have to be given a vitamin-rich diet which will help them retain their bright and wonderful color.

Are they dangerous?

The orange spotted filefish does not pose any threat to humans. They might only get aggressive towards other fish from the same genus as them if they are placed in the same tank or aquarium.

Would they make a good pet?

The harlequin filefish can make great pets and would definitely be one of the best attractions in any aquarium they're in. However, these fish should only be taken in by an expert aquarist because of the amount of care they require in terms of their diet, water quality, and type of tank.

Weaning these fish from their corallivorous diet to an omnivorous diet can also be very challenging and has to be done very carefully.

Did you know...

The orange spotted filefish can disguise or camouflage itself by taking in the chemicals present in corals and use them to smell like the coral itself.

It does so to protect itself against predators like cod, and it is one of the very few species in the whole world that can use their diet to camouflage themselves against their predators.

Are orange spotted filefishes reef safe?

No, the orange spotted filefish are not safe to be put in reef tanks as corals are their primary source of food and they will destroy the corals present in the tank. It is better to first wean them onto aquarium foods like frozen Mysis or brine shrimp, marine flakes, pellets, and gel-based foods.

They will do much better when put in large reef aquariums that have lots of stony corals and hiding places.

The orange spotted filefish species

There is only one kind of orange spotted filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris). However, they may sometimes also be referred to as the orangespotted filefish, which can point to an entirely different species, Cantherhines pullus.

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 southern right whale dolphin facts and giant guitarfish facts for kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable orange spotted filefish coloring pages.

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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