The tailspot squirrelfish Sargocentron caudimaculatum, is also known as the whitetail squirrelfish or silverspot squirrelfish. They are members of the sub family Holocentridae, which are known as squirrelfish. They are typically red and silver or white. On the gill cover they have spines which are venomous and can inflict a painful wound. They are closely related to the soldierfishes.
The head and body are red with the scales being tipped in silver. The rear section of the body is a white color. Just behind the gill cover there is a white squiggle shaped mark and the upper lip has a white line across it. They have proportionally large eyes with a thin white line above the eye and grow up to 17 cm.
IN THE WILD
During the day tailspot squirrelfish are found hiding in caves and under overhangs. They are shy of divers, retreating if one gets too close. Once in a safe spot they will watch a diver carefully.
The tailspot squirrelfish is found across the Indian ocean and in the Pacific excluding Hawaii. During the day they are seen in shoals under overhangs and caves to a depth of 40 meters. They use lunging and noises made in the swim bladder to chase other fish out of their hiding spots. At night they leave their hiding spot and hunt for prey along the bottom.
The tailspot squirrelfish are nocturnal feeders , feeding on benthic invertebrates and shrimp.
Spawning takes place into the water table and when the eggs hatch the young go into hiding.
They are not exploited commercially and are only eaten by subsistence fishermen.
These fish are generally not kept in aquariums as they grow quite large. They require a large aquarium of several hundred gallons and prefer being kept in numbers and are happier when they have company. They should have plenty of overhangs and hiding spots to hide in during the day. Smaller fish and shrimp will be eaten if the opportunity arises. They are easy to wean off live food and require a moonlight phase in the tank lighting as they will not feed in total darkness.
TAILSPOT SQUIRRELFISH CLASSIFICATION
Species: S. caudimaculatum
- The Reef Guide fishes, corals, nudibranchs & other invertebrates: East and South Coasts of Southern Africa by Dennis King & Valda Fraser