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Mexican Hogfish

Scientific Name:
Bodianus diplotaenia


The Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) to Chile.

This type of fish appears on rocky reefs and at depths from 15 to 251 feet. However, it can be common at depths of less than 60 feet.

Hogfish feed on crustaceans, mollusks, sea urchins, and small fishes. Some juveniles act as parasite cleaners.

Reaches a size of two-and-a-half feet.

Maximum published weight on a hogfish is almost 20 pounds (9,000 g).

Starts life as a female, later becoming a functional male. They are called protogynous hermaphrodites. This sex change though occurs over a limited size range of territory. They are in schools dominated by females with one larger male. Males defend temporary reproductive territories called leks. The male guards his harem. Peak spawning of eggs occurs during the months of February and March and this event involves the males courtship towards the chosen female followed by a swift journey towards the water surface. The eggs are then released and flow freely in the oceans depths. The eggs hatch perhaps 24 hours after fertilization takes place. After several weeks the larvae grow into juveniles and search out a suitable habitat.

Hogfish schools consist of groups of females dominated by a larger male, referred to as a harem. The male guards his harem, spawning exclusively with the females within it. Spawning occurs in later afternoon and early evening. This event involves male courtship of the female, followed by a rush towards the surface. The male and female release gametes into the surrounding water where fertilization takes place. The fertilized, pelagic eggs rapidly develop into larvae, hatching approximately 24 hours after fertilization occurs. This larvae stage lasts several weeks until they grow into juveniles and settle out of the water column, onto suitable habitat.

Nothing determinable on longevity.

General Description:
The Hogfish is recognized by their elongated snout, protruding lips, and sharp teeth. With a yellow bar along its mid-body, this fish has long, flowing thread tips on dorsal, anal and tail fin. Distinctively, with age, a large bulging bump grows on its head. Young hogfish have an egg-shaped profile and are condensed sideways. Reddish in color with faint upright bands, they are commonly observed around sea grass beds.

Did you know? This fish is also known as the Streamer hogfish and Cortez hogfish. It is in the same family as Wrasse, and closely related to Parrotfish. Most Hogfish are found in groups, or as solitary individuals, depending on its age. Some individual Mexican hogfish ooze a mucous cocoon that envelops the fish as it sleeps.


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