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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > fishes > Family Siganidae
Orange-spotted rabbitfish
Siganus guttatus
Family Siganidae
updated Oct 2020

Where seen? This gaily spotted fish is sometimes seen on on our Northern shores, among coral rubble. Sadly, often encountered trapped in driftnets. Elsewhere, it is found in turbid reefs near mangroves and appears to prefer places with lower salinity. Young fishes settle in seagrass beds near river mouths while adults leave and enter rivers with the tides. Adults travel in groups of 10-15. Unlike other rabbitfishes, this species is said to be active at night.

Features: To about 40cm, those seen about 15-20cm. It is named for its rabbit-like snout ('siganus' means 'has a nose like a rabbit') or possibly for its habit of grazing on seaweeds. It is also called Spinefoot after the spines on its pelvic fins, a unique feature of this family. It has tiny scales. It is distinguished by the spotted pattern and large golden spot below the dorsal fin near the tail which is about the same diameter as the eye. The upper body is dusky blue, and lower body silvery. The head has lines and spots. It has stout, venomous spines.

Tanah Merah, May 10

Large golden spot near the tail.
Chek Jawa, Aug 02

Painful sting! The rabbitfish has spines on its fins that are grooved and contain venom glands. These spines may be found on the dorsal, anal and pelvic fins. The sting of these spines can be quite painful to humans, but is generally not fatal. The fishes use their spines in self-defence and not for hunting prey.

How to stay safe: Wear covered shoes. Don't handle rabbitfishes.

What does it eat? It eats algae that grows on the sea bottom.

Human uses:
Sold fresh in some places as food.

Orange-spotted rabbitfishes on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores


Tanah Merah, May 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Kusu Island, Aug 17
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Links
References
  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
  • Lieske, Ewald and Robert Myers. 2001. Coral Reef Fishes of the World Periplus Editions. 400pp.
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