The Saddleback Hogfish (Bodianus bilunulatus) is also known as the Blackspot wrasse, Crescent banded hogfish, Tarry hogfish and the Tuxedo hogfish. As with all the members of this family there is considerable divergence in looks between the juveniles and the adults.
The juvenile Saddleback Hogfish pictured above has white/silver colour on the fore body with yellow across the face going up to the mid dorsal area. From the mid dorsal area back to the caudal area there is a black band. The caudal area is white and the caudal fin is translucent. They obtain their common name of Tuxedo hogfish from this stage.
As the fish matures so the black retreats into a saddle behind the dorsal fin and red lines develop across the body. Later the yellow across the forehead disappears and the dorsal, caudal and anal fins develop a yellow tint. They grow up to 55 cm in length.
SADDLEBACK HOGFISH IN THE WILD
The juvenile Saddleback Hogfish is fairly reclusive and is always found close to cover or under an overhang or in a small cave. They are usually found on coral rich areas of the reef from 10 to 15 meters. The adults seem to prefer deeper water and are usually only seen from 20 meters downwards. They are not common in Tanzanian waters but neither are they rare. They are normally seen solitary.
The Saddleback Hogfish is found across the Indian Ocean from East Africa across to Japan and south to New Caledonia in the Western Pacific.
The Saddleback Hogfish feed on small crustaceans and mollusks and usually feed individually. The juveniles have been seen acting as cleaners to other fish but we have never personally seen this behavior.
Little seems known of their mating habits , they are oviviparous and distinct pairing takes place. It is probable that some type of haremic structure exists.
Saddleback Hogfish are kept in aquariums and the juveniles are attractive fish. Given the size that they grow to however they require a large aquarium. As with all wrasses they may become territorial and aggressive towards similar sized fish. They require good hiding places and plenty of water to swim in. A larger tank is therefore a prerequisite. They may also take some time to acclimatize into a tank.