New to the reef: Orange filefish

The Giant Ocean Tank is teeming with hundreds of fish, so you might not know to look for some newcomers. But once we introduce the orange filefish, you'll find they're pretty easy to pick out of the crowd.

It's not hard to tell why these fish are called orange filefish!

The orange filefish (Aluterus schoepfii) can grow to be about a foot long, but they have a very compressed, pancake-like body shape. You can see just how thin they are when they turn toward you. Their coloration varies from olive gray to rich orange-yellow or even white on the dorsal side with some mottling. Irregular blotches are also normal.

An interesting characteristic about this species is that they often swim with their head pointing downward. It's believed they're trying to camouflage with seagrasses while hiding from predators and prey alike. They also have incredibly small mouths but formidable teeth with triangular incisors. Think of it like a cookie cutter meets a melon-baller.

See if you can notice any of these characteristics when observing the orange filefish in this video:

This species is not usually eaten by people. Their conservation status is unknown. But they can often be found in aquariums. We have not exhibited this species for some time now, so it's exciting to see these fish against the backdrop of the newly-renovated reef. We haven't had them on exhibit for 10 or 12 years! Come visit the Giant Ocean Tank and see if you can spot these new neighbors on the reef!

There are many different kinds of filefish, many of them living in the Giant Ocean Tank right now. Here are just a few from the blogs:

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