- Art Gallery -

Siganus vulpinus

Siganus vulpinus (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Osteichthyes
Classis: Actinopterygii
Subclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Superordo: Acanthopterygii
Ordo: Perciformes
Subordo: Acanthuroidei
Familia: Siganidae
Genus: Siganus
Species: Siganus vulpinus

The Foxface Rabbitfish (Siganus vulpinus) is a popular saltwater aquarium fish. It belongs to the rabbitfish family (Siganidae) and is sometimes still placed in the obsolete genus Lo. Other common names are "foxface" or "foxface Lo", but these properly refer to any of the rabbitfish species once separated in Lo, e.g. the closely related[1] Bicolored Foxface (S. uspi). The Foxface Rabbitfish lives throughout the western Pacific, often inhabiting coral reefs[2].

The Blotched Foxface (S. unimaculatus) differs from S. vulpinus in possessing a large black spot below the aft dorsal fin. It is sympatric and not phylogenetically distinct, and though these two might be recently-evolved species, they are more likely just color morphs and ought to be united under the scientific name S. vulpinus.[3]


The Foxface Rabbitfish is a bright yellow medium-sized fish, usually attaining an average size of 23 cm (9 in) in length. The head and front portion of its body is striped black-brown and white[2]. They retain this bright coloring throughout the day, and during the night or when stressed, like many other fishes, they have the ability to change into a mottled dark brown color[4]. This is most likely used as a camouflage against predators, and upon waking, their bright colors almost immediately return. They have a long snout-like mouth that is used for feeding on algae and other vegetation, with the snout being particularly handy for reaching into crevices.

Caution should be used with this fish: like in all rabbitfishes, all of the dorsal, pectoral and anal fins have venomous spines. A wound from any of them can be, at the least, very painful. To prevent injury when working in an aquarium with a rabbitfish, it is a good idea to wear thick rubber gloves or somehow isolate it to one side of the aquarium temporarily. Despite the danger of the venomous fins, the Foxface Rabbitfish is generally timid and will usually retreat behind some rocks when approached or you stick your arm in an aquarium. Most injuries occur when people attempt to handle the fish without wearing gloves or stick their hand in the aquarium while feeding.


Siganus vulpinus is omnivorous but enjoys algae and other marine plant life. From time-to-time, if hungry, it may nip at corals like Zoantharia (zoanthids and button polyps). Though not an obligate herbivore, the Foxface Rabbitfish does require algae in its diet. In captivity it can usually be coaxed into eating a combination of mysis shrimp, sheets of dried seaweed and marine flake food containing algae. It is popular with aquarists due to its appetite for feather caulerpas (Caulerpa crassifolia, C. mexicana, C. sertularoides), macroalgae that commonly overgrow the rockwork in home aquariums. S. vulpinus is highly skilled at removing this alga and will generally clear an aquarium of it within a matter of days.


^ Kuriiwa et al. (2007)
^ a b FishBase (2008)
^ Kuriiwa et al. (2007), FishBase (2008)
^ See e.g. FishBase (2008) for photo


FishBase (2008): Siganus vulpinus - Foxface. Version of 2008-JAN-14. Retrieved 2008-AUG-31.
Kuriiwa, Kaoru; Hanzawa, Naoto; Yoshino, Tetsuo; Kimura, Seishi & Nishida, Mutsumi (2007): Phylogenetic relationships and natural hybridization in rabbitfishes (Teleostei: Siganidae) inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA analyses. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 45(1): 69–80. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.04.018 (HTML abstract)

Biology Encyclopedia

Fish Images

Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License