Wednesday 3 May 2017

Twospot Turkeyfish

Image: Maupin Delphine
Dendrochirus biocellatus
It's a fish! It has two spots! And... turkey. Turkey is involved.

Makes perfect sense.

Image: Jacob Mojiwat
Well, I guess it does. Sort of. I presume it means that that those glorious pectoral fins are a bit like a turkey's tail (be it mushroom or bird). I get it. But Twospot Turkeyfish are also known as Ocellated or Twinspot Lionfish, and lions are approximately the opposite of turkeys, aren't they? And they also have another name - Fu Manchu Fish. You got to give that moustache some love!

Not that they want anyone to actually see their fins or their moustache.


Twospot Turkeyfish are widespread throughout the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans, from Mauritius to Japan and down to northern Australia.

They look fantastic! Those rich colours; those huge fins—the rounded ones striped and spotted, the spiky ones undulating like drumming fingers; that luscious, ginger moustache. People would pay a lot a bit of money for a collection of whiskers like that. Where's a catwalk (or turkeywalk) when you need one?

Unfortunately, Twospot Turkeyfish are almost entirely nocturnal. You might see one during the day if you're lucky, but you'd probably only watch it creep from a nook among the rocks to a cranny among the sponges.

Video: Oceanandlake

Twospot Turkeyfish belong to the subfamily Pteroinae, which is the same one those famous Lionfish belong to. That's why members of their genus, Dendrochirus, are also known as the Dwarf Lionfish.

They may be just 13 cm (5 in) long, which is about a third the size of the biggest Lionfish, but Twospot Turkeyfish are still aggressive predators who stalk small fish and shrimp before lunging at their prey with remarkable speed. Like a... turkey out of Hell.

Those poor food items...

Image: Mike Kalasnik
I know I'd be terrified.


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