Tilefish have a slender figure. The anal and dorsal fins are long and low. The pelvic fins are far forward, just below the pectoral fins. The back and sides of the great northern tilefish are bluish or greenish gray, studded with yellow spots. The belly and cheeks are pink, turning white in the midline. The dorsal fin has yellow spots. The pectoral fins are dark and fringed in black, as is the anal fin. Sand tilefish is a slender, almost eel-like fish.
Some species live in temperate waters, but most live in tropical waters. A well-known species is the great northern tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps), which inhabits the outer continental shelf from Nova Scotia to northern South America and is relatively abundant from southern New England to the Mid-Atlantic coast at depths of 44 to 240 fathoms. Sand tilefish are common in the Caribbean and Florida. A similar species is M. hoedtii in the western Pacific. Ocean whitefish (Caulolatilus princeps), found from British Columbia to Peru (but rarely north of California), is found in eastern Pacific waters.
Tilefish are usually found in and around underwater canyons, where they occupy burrows in the sedimentary substrate. Sand tilefish inhabit reefs and sandy areas of warm waters, rarely deeper than 50 feet.
Most tilefish are less than 2 feet long. Great northern tilefish are relatively slow growing and long-lived, their maximum age and length are 35 years and 43 inches for females and 26 years and 44 inches for males. Both sexes become sexually mature at 5 to 7 years of age. Sand tilefish (Malacanthus plumieri), averaging 12 inches in length, sometimes reaching 24 inches.
Life history and Behavior
Food and feeding habits
Tilefish feed on crustaceans, shrimp, squid, and small fish.
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Tilefish: Sand Tilefish
Tags: Tilefish: Sand Tilefish