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Stocky Hawkfish Cirrhitus pinnulatus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
All of the fishes of this family have 14 pectoral fin rays, the lower 5 to 7 of which are unbranched and thickened; there is a single dorsal fin of 10 spines and 11-17 rays which is notched between the spinous and soft portions; the tips of the dorsal spines have one or more projecting cirri.
These fishes rest upon the reef, using their enlarged lower pectoral rays to wedge themselves in place if needed. All are carnivorous, typically darting out to prey upon small fishes and crustaceans.
Some species, at least, are protogynous hermaphrodites (beginning mature life as females and changing sex later to males).
Cirrhitops fasciatus (Bennett, 1828) Piliko'a
White with five broad red bars on body, wider dorsally, and additional narrow red bars ventrally, one in each white interspace; a black spot on opercle; dorsal rays 10; lower 6 pectoral rays unbranched. Reaches 4.5 inches (11.5 cm). Unusual disjunct distribution: Hawaiian Islands, Mauritius, and Madagascar.
Cirrhitus pinnulatus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) Po'opa'a
Body brownish gray with white blotches and small orange-red spots; body robust; dorsal spines 10, soft rays 11; lower 7 pectoral rays unbranched. Reported to 12 inches (30 cm). Indo-Pacific; lives in surge zone on reef or rocky bottom. Feeds mainly on crabs, but also other crustaceans, fishes, sea urchins, and brittle stars.
All information and pictures in this section are from John E. Randall's Shore Fishes of Hawai'i by permission of the author
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