Fun Foxfish Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 29, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Sep 23, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Foxfish facts are fun to know.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

Do you want to learn about an interesting brightly colored fish? In this article, we are going to learn about the beautiful foxfish.

The foxfish (Bodianus frenchii) is a species of Australian fish from the genus Bodianus. This species is found in reef areas in the temperate waters of south-western Western Australia to eastern South Australia, and from southern Queensland to eastern Tasmania. While the adults love to swim deep inside the reef, the young ones prefer the ledges. The foxfish has a long life and lives for 20-25 years or more in the wild. Male foxfish are dominant animals and the big male fishes generally restrict the females from mating with other fishes. They are territorial and defend their reef territories against the smaller males, for whom mating becomes a challenge. These fishes spawn all year round but an increase in spawning is recorded from late spring to summer. The coloration of the fishes varies from red or orange in adults to brown with yellow patches in younger ones. Adults have two distinct patches on the backside of the body and a black margin on the dorsal fin. The pectoral fin in the young ones is surrounded by a black patch. They communicate through sound, motion, and bioluminescence like other fishes and are carnivores by nature. The foxfish has been listed as Near Threatened by IUCN, based on the sharp decline in their number due to human activities like bycatch in fishing, and aquarium trading in the United States.

Read on to learn more about these amazing marine animals, and if you like this article, do not forget to check out the rockfish and the bonito fish.

Foxfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a foxfish?

The foxfish is a species of fish with its habitat distribution range across the reef waters of Western Australia, and from south Queensland to eastern Tasmania.

What class of animal does a foxfish belong to?

Foxfishes belong to the class Actinopterygii of the animal kingdom.

How many foxfish are there in the world?

The foxfishpopulation range in Western and South Australia is Near Threatened. These fishes, native to the temperate marine waters of Australia, are facing some serious threats. However, the exact number of these fishes currently inhabiting the earth cannot be ascertained.

Where does a foxfish live?

Bodianus frenchii is a Labridae. They are bright marine animals that are native to the waters of southwestern Western Australia to eastern South Australia. They are also observed in the region extending from south Queensland to eastern Tasmania. It is only in Victoria that there is a notable gap in their distribution.

What is a foxfish's habitat?

The distribution of these large Australian fishes shows that they are quite common in the deep coastal waters of South Australia. Foxfish are found living in caves and also under ledges. They prefer reefs that have depths of 49.2-262.5 ft (15-80 m) and are frequently spotted on reefs from Perth to Esperance in Western Australia. While the adults venture deeper into the coastal reefs, the young ones or juveniles are common on ledges.

Who do foxfish live with?

There is not enough information to conclude with certainty whether the foxfish lives in groups. However, they are a species of wrasse and like other wrasses, they can be spotted in groups or schools.

How long does a foxfish live?

The foxfish is a long-lived fish species with an average lifespan of 20-25 years.

How do they reproduce?

Not much is known about the reproductive behavior in the Bodianus frenchii, although it is understood that the males in the species exhibit protogyny. The larger males dominate their territories by virtue of their size and restrict female mating. Hence, reproduction for smaller males in this species becomes a challenge. During breeding, this fish species forms distinct pairs. The Bodianus frenchii reproduce by discharging eggs in the water and this phenomenon is quite common from late spring to summer.

What is their conservation status?

The foxfish (Bodianus frenchii) has been listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List. Even though they are not yet Endangered, the population trend is decreasing further.

Foxfish Fun Facts

What do foxfish look like?

The foxfish (Bodianus frenchii) is an Australian fish species found primarily in the temperate waters of western Australia and southern Australia. The adults of the species have red, brown, and orange colorations on their bodies with two distinct spots on their backs and white undersides. Adults have pink or red fins and large adults have a black margin on the dorsal fin. The young ones or juveniles are mostly brown in color and have three yellow patches on the body. The area around their pectoral fin is black.

Bodianus frenchii is a brightly colored fish with two distinct black spots on the backside of the body.

How cute are they?

The Bodianus frenchii is a beautiful marine fish species, unlike the humphead wrasse. The fishes have bright orange bodies and are quite large in size. Their cuteness or beauty mainly stems from their bright coloration.

How do they communicate?

It can be assumed that, like most other fishes, foxfish communicate with one another using their different senses. Fishes are extremely sensitive to sound and motions in the water. They can catch sound traveling through water and their bodies are built to catch even the slightest of motions around them, helping them to avoid imminent threats or predators. Some species also possess excellent vision, even at night when it can get really dark in the depths of water. Fishes also respond to certain odors and bioluminescence.

How big is a foxfish?

The foxfish is a large marine species of about 17.71 in (45 cm) in length.

They are similar in length to a pigfish which ranges between 16.93-17.32 in (43-44 cm).

How fast can a foxfish swim?

Foxfishare known to venture into great depths of coral reefs off the coast of southern and western Australia and eastern South Australia. Hence, it can also be assumed that these fish species are good swimmers and can swim relatively fast.

How much does a foxfish weigh?

Foxfish is a large fish species. However, their exact weight is not known. They are quite heavy and are often found swimming deep in the reefs near the coast.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male fish and female fish do not have distinct names.

What would you call a baby foxfish?

Baby fishes also do not have a distinct name, however, they may be referred to as juveniles or fry.

What do they eat?

The foxfish is a wrasseand like all wrasses, they are carnivores. The foxfish's eating habits are like the saltwater wrasse or saltwater foxfish that feed on shrimps, blood worms, crustaceans, amphipods, and small invertebrates.

Are they dangerous?

The Australian foxfish is a venomous fish. However, the effects of foxfish venom are not strong and do not cause much harm to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Foxfish are carnivores and feed on smaller fishes, crustaceans, and invertebrates. They cannot be kept as pets.

Did you know?

Bodianus frenchii was initially described by Carl Benjamin Klunzinger as Cossyphus frenchii. Klunzinger was the one who studied and described the fish. The specific name honored Dr. V Muller's assistant, Herr French, who collected many types of Australian fishes which Klunzinger went on to describe. Then the name foxfish was taken from the misapplied binomial Bodianus vulpinus, since the fish hardly resembled a fox.

Why do foxfish dorsal fins flare up?

Foxfish dorsal fins flare up when the fish senses some kind of threat or competition with another male fish. The idea behind flaring the fins is to make the fish look bigger and more intimidating, in order to scare their predators away or defend their territory.

What are the different types of foxfish?

There are different types of foxfish, namely, the flying foxfish, Fiji foxfish, and others.

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 dogfish shark facts and African lungfish facts pages.

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

Foxfish Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Shrimps, amphipods, and invertebrates

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?


What habitat Do they Live In?

Marine neritic zone

Where Do They Live?

Reef areas of Australia

How Long Were They?

17.7 in (45 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Bodianus frenchii

What Do They Look Like?

Orange, red, and brown

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Near Threatened
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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