The Thumbprint Monocle bream (Scolopsis bimaculata) are fairly 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 Thumbprint Monocle Bream is a silver grey background color with a dark black horizontal mark from the mid dorsal area extending back towards the caudal area. At a quick glance this may resemble a thumbprint, giving the fish its common name. The dorsal, pectoral and caudal and anal fins are a light yellow color. They grow up to 31 centimeters in length. At times their colors are fairly drab but in the summer months some specimens have more intense colors which is presumably mating related.
THUMBPRINT MONOCLE BREAM IN THE WILD
Thumbprint Monocle are nearly always seen over sandy areas close to the reef and are sometimes seen out in the open at night, particularly on a full moon although it is not clear whether this is feeding or mating related. They are usually seen solitary but occasionally are seen in pairs or small groups.
The Thumbprint Monocle bream is found across the Indian ocean 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 usually always single.
The Thumbprint Monocle bream are benthic ( bottom) feeders , feeding on crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms and smaller fishes.
Little seems known of their breeding behaviour. In East Africa other species of Spinecheek 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.
They are not exploited commercially per se in Tanzania , although they are eaten by subsistence fishermen in East Africa. They are reportedly quite tasty.
They are not commonly kept in aquariums.
THUMBPRINT MONOCLE BREAM CLASSIFICATION
- The Reef Guide fishes, corals, nudibranchs & other invertebrates: East and South Coasts of Southern Africa by Dennis King & Valda Fraser