The Longnose Hawkfish, Oxycirrhites typus, belongs to the hawkfish family Cirrhitidae in the order Perciformes. Cirrhitidae inhabits tropical parts of the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific. Just like all the other hawkfishes, the Longnose Hawkfish share several notable morphological features with the scorpionfishes of the family Scorpaenidae.
Oxycirrhites typus has not been evaluated for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Geographical distribution, habitat and habits
The Longnose Hawkfish is found in the Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific. In the Indo-Pacific, its geographical range stretches from the Red Sea and South Africa to Hawaii; as far north as southern Japan and as far south as New Caledonia. In the Eastern-Pacific, this species is found from the Gulf of California to the northern coast of Colombia and the Galapagos Islands.
The Longnose Hawkfish is not a migratory species. It can be found from a dept of 10 meters / 33 feet down to 100 meters / 330 feet. A majority of the specimens live deeper than 30 meters / 100 feet.
The Longnose Hawkfish is known to prefer steep outer reef slopes exposed to strong currents. It likes to stay perched on gorgonians and black corals. It is a highly territorial species.
Size and appearance
The largest scientifically measured Longnose Hawkfish was 13 cm / 5.1 in. The snout is very long and a tuft of cirri is found near the tip of each dorsal spine. (Cirri are small, thin appendages.) The tail is concave. Just like other members of the family Cirrhitidae, the Longnose Hawkfish is without swim bladder.
The body of the Longnose Hawkfish is red and white with mottled markings. A distinct grid pattern consisting of horizontal and near vertical lines makes the fish look almost like something out of a comic book.
In adult males there will be fringing on the pelvic and caudal fins. (All specimens being their lives as females and can change into males later.)
Longnose Hawkfish care
It is not advisable to house a Longnose Hawkfish in an aquarium smaller than 30 gallons / 115 liters. The ideal set up contains plenty of rocks and corals on which the hawkfish can perch itself, just like it would in the wild. Keep the water temperature around 24-26° C / 75-79° F.
The Longnose Hawkfish is a highly territorial fish and this can lead to quite a lot of aggression in the aquarium until a pair is formed. Being in the same set up for a long time can increase their natural territoriality and changing the set up once in a while can therefore be a good idea. Keeping more than one hawkfish (unless it is a compatible pair) will require a really big and cleverly decorated aquarium. The hawkfish is therefore normally kept in a species aquarium or combined with fish from other families. As a general rule, it is best to add all the other fish to the aquarium and let them familiarize themselves with the environment before introducing the hawkfish.
Do not house the Longnose Hawkfish with fish small enough to be considered prey. Compared to most other members of the family Cirrhitidae, the Longnose Hawkfish is less likely to eat small crustaceans in the aquarium, but this doesn’t mean that you can be 100% sure that small crustaceans will be left alone. Avoid combining Longnose Hawkfish with very strong stinging corals such as Sea Anemones and Catalaphyllia, because they might kill the hawkfish.
Feeding Longnose Hawkfish
The Longnose Hawkfish is a predatory species that needs a carnivore diet in the aquarium. In the wild, it will spend most of its time perched on a rock, coral or similar waiting for a suitable prey to come by. Once a suitable food item has been located, the fish will quickly strike out and seize it. This fish has conical teeth adapted for grasping benthic and free-swimming crustaceans which make up the staple of its diet.
In the aquarium, the Longnose Hawkfish is known to be a happy eater and it will usually accept live, fresh and frozen foods. Some specimens can even be trained to eat dry food. Keep it on a varied diet that mimics what it would eat in the wild: many different types of crustaceans. You can supplement the crustaceans with small fish and similar meaty foods.
Breeding Longnose Hawkfish
All studied species of hawkfish are protogynous synchronous hermaphrodites, i.e. all specimens will start out as females and have the capacity to change into males later in life. Many are harm spawners, but the Longnose Hawkfish seems to be monogamous. A courtship dance carried out by an aquarium kept pair has been observed during the early evening.
In the aquarium, the Longnose Hawkfish places its egg close to the bottom, but studies on specimens in the wild have indicated that this species might actually be a pelagic spawner.
As far as we know, no aquarium spawnings have resulted in mature offspring.
The male fish it typically larger than the female and more colourful. It is also common for males to have black margins on their pelvic and caudal fins.