The Lattice Soldierfish (Myripristis kuntee) , is also known as the Australian Squirrelfish , Orangefin Soldierfish, Scarlet Soldierfish, Small-eyed Squirrelfish and Violet Soldierfish.
They are in the family Holocentridae and sub family Myripristis. Closely related to the squirrelfish in the sub family Holocentrinae, they differ from Squirrelfish in that they do not have sharp spines on the gill cover and it is unclear how they obtain the common name of Australian Squirrelfish.
Lattice Soldierfish have a silver body with dark red edging on their large scales. The dorsal, anal and caudal fins have a red – orange edging. Being nocturnal feeders they have large eyes. They grow up to 35 centimeters in length.
IN THE WILD
Lattice soldierfish are often seen during the day around and in large branching corals which is unusual for soldierfish which generally hide under ledges and in caves. They are generally shy and will head into the corals if a diver gets too close. They are often found in quite large groups around the branching corals with other species of Soldierfish and Squirrelfish. During the night they are seen solitary.
The Lattice Soldierfish is found across the Indian ocean and into the west Pacific, excluding the Red Sea and Persian Gulf areas. They are found from depths of 10 to 30 meters usually in deep lagoons and outer reefs.
The Lattice Soldierfish are nocturnal feeders. They feed mainly on planktonic crustacean larvae.
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.
LATTICE SOLDIERFISH CLASSIFICATION
Species: M. violacea
- 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.