Sargocentron spiniferum (Forsskål, 1775)
Sabre squirrelfish
photo by Randall, J.E.

Family:  Holocentridae (Squirrelfishes, soldierfishes), subfamily: Holocentrinae
Max. size:  51 cm FL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 2,550.0 g
Environment:  reef-associated; depth range 1 - 122 m
Distribution:  Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa (Ref. 4201) to the Hawaiian and Ducie islands, north to southern Japan, south to Australia; throughout Micronesia.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 11-11; Dorsal soft rays (total): 14-16; Anal spines: 4-4; Anal soft rays: 9-10. Head and body red, scale edges silvery white; spinous dorsal crimson in color; other fins orange-yellow; vertically oblong crimson spot on preopercle behind eye (Ref. 4201). Five oblique scale rows on cheek; body depth 2.4-2.6 in SL; head length (HL) 2.55-2.85 in SL; lower jaw when closed slightly to moderately projecting; snout length 3.0-3.8 in HL larger than orbit diameter in adults; interorbital width 6.3-8.7 in HL; maxilla extending posteriorly to a vertical at front edge of the orbit; anterior end of nasal bone often with 2 close-set, short spines; medioposterior margin of nasal bone spineless; large nasal fossa spineless on margin; slight ridge of upper edge of suborbital bones weakly serrate; 2 subequal opercular spines; long preopercular spine, usually greater than orbit diameter in specimens at least 20 cm SL; 3rd or 4th dorsal spine longest, 1.7-2.3 in HL; 3rd anal spine 1.7-2.3 in HL (Ref. 27370). Description: Characterized by having 5 oblique scale rows on cheek (Ref. 90102).
Biology:  A solitary species that inhabits a variety of reef zones from reef flats to lagoon and seaward reefs to a depth of at least 122 m and is fairly common in areas not subjected to heavy spear fishing. Found under ledges during the day (Ref. 9710). Benthopelagic (Ref. 58302). Largest species of squirrelfish and the highest-bodied Sargocentron (Ref. 37816). Juvenile inhabits shallow protected reefs. A nocturnal species that feeds on crabs, shrimps and small fishes. Spine of preopercle venomous. Largest squirrelfish (Ref. 48635).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 04 March 2015 Ref. (120744)
Threat to humans:  reports of ciguatera poisoning
Country info:   
 

Entered by: Agustin, Liza Q. - 03.11.92
Modified by: Ortañez, Auda Kareen - 15.01.08
Checked by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 24.08.94

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