Myripristis jacobus Cuvier, 1829, Martinique Island, West Indies; Brazil; Havana, Cuba.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Bastard soldierfish, roundhead conga; French: Marignon mombin; Spanish: Candil de piedra.
Grow up to 10 in (25 cm) in length. Somewhat similar in appearance to the squirrelfish, they are red with a large eye, double dorsal fin, and forked tail, but also sport a brownish black, vertical bar behind the gillcover that extends to the pectoral fin.
Gulf of Mexico and the eastern Atlantic, north to North Carolina and south to Brazil.
Reefs and other structures, including piers. Commonly seen by divers in very shallow waters, but also found at depths to 330 ft (100 m).
Usually a solitary species, but small groups of up to 36 individuals sometimes school. Under stress, blackbar soldierfishes will make clicking and grunting noises with the swim bladder. Divers have seen an occasional blackbar soldierfish swimming upside down, and they commonly swim upside down in caves.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Nocturnal feeder. Eats shrimp and zooplankton. Predators include such fishes as the horse-eye jack (Caranx latus), West Atlantic trumpetfish (Aulostomus maculatus), and Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus).
Engage in external fertilization on days following a full moon. While the adults prefer shallower reefs, the larvae may travel well out to sea.
Not listed by the IUCN.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Major part of the pet trade and a minor commercial food fish.
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