“Feather fin bullfish (Heniochus acumineatus)
The feather fin bullfish is a common reef fish distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific. They are found singly or in pairs in many reef environments, from shallow lagoons to deep reef slopes from 2 – 75m deep. Growing to 25cm in length, feather fin bullfish are distinguished by their black and white banded body and elongated dorsal fin.
The feather fin bullfish belongs to a family of fish known as the butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae). The fish in this family all have fine, hair-like teeth that allow them to eat small, inaccessible marine animals that many other fish can not. These fish use their teeth to pull small animals out of burrows, such as Christmas tree and featherduster worms. They can even eat tiny coral polyps using their specialised teeth. However, this is not the only way the feather fin bullfish feeds; they also feed on small zooplankton, and parasites off the backs of larger marine animals, such as turtles, large fish and marine mammals. As the feather fin bullfish eats many different sources of food, it is known as a generalist feeder. This is advantageous as they can adapt to the different sources of food available, and may explain as to why they are abundant within their range. These two photos were taken at the graveyard dive site out the front of Tangalooma.”