The Twospot Hawkfish (Amblycirrhitus bimacula) is also known as the Twinspot Hawkfish . They are extremely shy compared to the other Hawkfish. They are usually very well hidden and it is not often that one spots them, so it is difficult to determine how common they are but jusging from the numbers seen at night they are fairly common.
The Twospot Hawkfish has a whitish background colour with series of brown or orange-brown bars and dots running down the body. There is a black spot on the opercule just behind the eye and a further spot on the rear of the dorsal fin base. Tufts of cirri are found on the top of each dorsal spine.
The pectoral fins are comparatively large and are without scales. They can grow up to 8.5 centimeters and are quite often seen this size in the ocean. Their eyes are bulbous giving them a good field of vision and have an orange ring around them. The mouth is tapered and proportionally is quite small.
TWOSPOT HAWKFISH IN THE WILD
The Twospot Hawkfish is extremely shy and we have never seen them in the open. One really has to look for this fish and they are always in a crevice or hiding between the corals. We have only seen them on reef tops between 10 and 15 meters.
As can be seen in the images they use their pectoral fins to wedge themselves into crevices. They have no swim bladder and this allows them to make rapid darts upwards and downwards without having to adjust pressure. On the downside they sink when not swimming and are therefore usually motionless on the bottom waiting for prey to pass.
Twospot hawkfish are found across the Indo West Pacific area mainly on coral and rocky reefs. They are found from 1 meter in depth to 20 meters.
The Twospot Hawkfish is a predatory carnivore as its name suggests and its main diet consists of small fish and crustaceans. They are ambush predators and having no swim bladders can make rapid darts upwards and downwards giving them their name of Hawkfish.
Hawkfish generally exhibit haremic behavior with one male and a few females around him. Mating takes place just before sunset and the eggs are released into the substrate.
Twospot hawkfish are probably not ideal for beginners. Note that they actively hunt crustaceans and smaller fish, so it should be the last fish introduced to a semi-aggressive to aggressive community of fish.
They may harass new aquarium additions including other hawkfish as well as fish that are much larger than themselves. Their diet in an aquarium should include a variety of marine meats, frozen preparations, and live feeder shrimp. There is a really good article on keeping Hawkfish in aquariums here
TWOSPOT HAWKFISH CLASSIFICATION
Species: Amblycirrhitus bimacula
The Reef Guide: Southern Africa’s East and South Coasts
Dennis King and Valda Fraser