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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > fishes > Order Pleuronectiformes > Family Soleidae
Peacock sole
Pardachirus pavoninus
Family Soleidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This large pretty fish is sometimes seen on on sandy areas near seagrasses on some of our shores.

Features: Those seen about 10-15cm, can grow to about 20cm. Eyes on right side. Small, highly curved mouth. Body oblong and very flat. No pectoral fins. Tail fin separated from the dorsal and anal fins. It has a pattern of circles that resemble eyes (a pale spot with a dark centre). This pattern of eyes possibly gives rise to its common name because the tail of a peacock also has a pattern of eyes.

Toxic peacocks! The fish produces a mucus from toxin glands along the base of the dorsal and anal fin rays around the entire outline of the body. This may be toxic to small fishes. According to FishBase, this mucus appears to have shark-repellent properties. The more obvious marking on this fish may serve to warn of its unpleasant nature.

The Moses sole (Pardachirus mamoratus) found in the Red Sea produces an astringent, frothy, soap-like poison, called pardaxin, that was found to repel sharks. However, the toxin proved difficult to package and store and could not be used to protect humans.

What does it eat? Lying buried in the sand, it preys on bottom dwelling animals including worms, small crustaceans and molluscs.

Human uses: Although the skin is said to have a bitter taste, the flesh is described as good to eat.

Chek Jawa, Jul 05

Tail fin joined to the dorsal and
anal fins only at the base.

Well camouflaged!
Cyrene Reef, Jul 08

Beting Bemban Besar, Aug 05

Eyes on the right side.

Peacock soles on Singapore shores

Photos of Peacock soles for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Changi, Jun 08
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Changi, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Pulau Sekudu, May 18

Photo shared by Dayna Cheah on facebook.

Tanah Merah, Jul 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Tanah Merah, Aug 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Tanah Merah, Jul 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Jun 15
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Sentosa Serapong, May 16
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Terumbu Bemban, Jul 11
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Pulau Sudong, Dec 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his flickr.

Pulau Senang, Aug 10

Pulau Senang, Jun 10
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her flickr.

  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H. 2002. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia: A Comprehensive Reference for Divers & Fishermen New Holland Publishers. 434pp.
  • Lieske, Ewald and Robert Myers. 2001. Coral Reef Fishes of the World Periplus Editions. 400pp.
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