The Blotcheye soldierfish Myripristis murjan, is also known as the Red soldierfish, Pinecone soldierfish or Crimson soldierfish. They are in the family Holocentridae and sub family Myripristis. Closely related to the squirrelfish in the sub family Holocentrinae, they differ in that they do not have sharp spines on the gill cover.
Blotcheye soldierfish have a silver pink to red body with red edging on their large scales. There is a distinctive blotch over the eye and a black crescent shaped mark behind the gill cover. The shape of this mark distinguishes them from the Epaulette soldierfish which has an oblong shaped mark in the same area with sharp right angles. Most fins have a white edging to them and they have large eyes. They grow up to 30 centimeters in length. Visually in the right light their colors can be very attractive.
IN THE WILD
They are generally shy and will usually back away from a diver if he gets too close. One usually encounters them under an overhang during the day and out feeding at night. They are mainly found in small groups during the day, often with Squirrelfish. During the night they are usually solitary.
The blotcheye soldierfish is found across the Indian ocean and in the west Pacific. They are found from depths of 10 to 40 meters usually in lagoons and outer reefs.
The blotcheye soldierfish are nocturnal feeders. They feed mainly on small crustaceans, small fishes and large plankton.
Little is known of their breeding habits, but they are thought to spawn into the water table where the larvae mature.
They are not exploited commercially but they are caught by subsistence fishermen and the flesh is white and reportedly very tasty.
These fish grow quite large and unless you have a large aquarium of several hundred gallons, you should not keep them. They require an overhang or cave to hide in. If space is at a premium they may become territorial and bully smaller fish who enter their daytime hiding spot. They are easy to feed and care for.
BLOTCHEYE SOLDIERFISH CLASSIFICATION
Species: M. berndti
- The Reef Guide fishes, corals, nudibranchs & other invertebrates: East and South Coasts of Southern Africa by Dennis King & Valda Fraser
- Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics.