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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > fishes > Family Siganidae
Streaked rabbitfish
Siganus javus
Family Siganidae
updated Oct 2020

Where seen? This spotted and striped fish is sometimes seen on our Northern shores, near coral rubble and seagrasses.

Features: To about 40cm, those seen about 10-20cm. 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 many small white spots on the upper side of the body and fine longitudinal lines on the lower part of the body. The head and fins are often yellow and the tail fin is dark.

Tanah Merah, Dec 09
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? Juveniles feed on algae growing on the bottom, sometimes entering river mouths to do so. Adults may feed on plankton in mid-water.

Human uses: The fish is marketed fresh in some places as food.

Streaked rabbitfishes on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

East Coast Park, Jun 08
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Tanah Merah, Oct 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Tanah Merah, May 09

Photo shared by James Koh on his flickr.

  • Kuiter, Rudie H. 2002. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia: A Comprehensive Reference for Divers & Fishermen New Holland Publishers. 434pp.
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