Aulostoma maculatum Valenciennes, 1837, West Atlantic.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
The trumpetfish is slender and elongate. The head is about one-third of the total length; the snout is tubular and the mouth large, terminal, and very upturned. The chin has a prominent barbel, and the eyes are relatively small and round. Single dorsal fin is preceded by eight to 13 short, well-spaced spines. Dorsal fin with 21–25 rays; anal fin opposite to dorsal fin and also with 21–25 rays; pelvic fins very posterior. Scales small and somewhat abrasive. Reaches at least 35.4 in (90 cm) in length. Coloration varies. May have dusky brown or reddish background with lighter stripes and darker spots, but some individuals are yellow or green with a blue snout.
Western Atlantic from Florida to southeastern Brazil; also in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda, and Antilles. Found in the eastern Atlantic at Saint Paul’s Rocks.
Adults usually are found in coral reefs and associated habitats, at depths ranging from 6.6 to 82 ft (2–25 m); juveniles live in deeper water but also among sargassum.
Trumpetfishes may hover in near vertical positions, with their heads pointing downward, sometimes almost motionless. They align their bodies with other linear objects, ranging from corals to other fishes to crevices, blending in with their surroundings. They also are capable of quick movements. Reported to change color according to their
. They also use larger nonpiscivorous fishes such as parrotfish as mobile blinds, hiding behind them to approach within striking distance of prey.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Eats mostly smaller fishes and small invertebrates by employing stealthy movements and suction feeding (pipette feeding). May feed on larger fishes as well.
Mostly unknown; juveniles are known to inhabit deeper waters, but eggs and larvae probably are pelagic.
Not listed by the IUCN.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Sometimes kept in public aquaria. A harmless fish, sometimes marketed locally but of minor commercial importance.
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