Arabian Monocle Bream – Facts and Photographs

 Arabian Monocle Bream. Scolopsis ghanam

The arabian monocled bream, Scolopsis ghanam is also known as the arabian spine cheek, paleband monocle bream, silverflash spinecheek  and the spinecheek arabian threadfin bream. They are common fish on the reefs of East Africa. Spinecheeks are a family of fish closely related to snappers. They have a backward pointing spine below the eye.


The body of the Arabian monocle bream has a silver grey background color with numerous dark spots below the lateral line. Dark stripes above the lateral line extend onto the head towards and above the eyes. They grow up to 30 centimeters in length.

arabian monocle bream, Scolopsis ghanam


They are often seen over sandy areas close to the reef and are sometimes seen out in the open at night, although it is not clear whether this is feeding or mating related. They darken their colors at night, presumably for camouflage purposes. Once lit up they quickly revert to their daytime coloration. In the images below of the same fish, the time between the darkened coloration and the normal is approximately four seconds.


The arabian monocle bream is found across the Indian ocean and in the west Pacific from depths of 1 to 20 meters.

They usually are seen on the sandy areas of the reef, often close to a coral bommie with hiding spots, which they are quick to dart into. They are seen singly or in small groups.

arabian monocle bream, Scolopsis ghanam


The arabian monocle bream are benthic feeders , feeding on crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms and smaller fishes. Coral fragments have also been found in their stomachs indicating that they eat certain species of coral.


In East Africa they spawn from September to November and research has shown that the male to female ratio of fishes on the reef is slightly in favor of the males. Exactly why this is so is unknown. Breeding is related to water temperatures and the productivity of the water.

arabian monocle bream, Scolopsis ghanam photographed at night in its night colors


They are not exploited commercially, although they are eaten by subsistence fishermen in East Africa who mainly trap them in woven fish traps. They are reportedly quite tasty.


They are not commonly kept in aquariums.


Arabian monocle bream Scolopsis ghanam.


Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Nemipteridae
Genus: S.ghanam



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.