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Kyphosus hawaiiensis facts for kids

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Kyphosus hawaiiensis
Kyphosus bigibbus.jpg
Northwest Hawaiian Islands with goatfish
Scientific classification

Kyphosus hawaiiensis, the Hawaiian chub or bicolor chub, is a species of marine ray-finned fish, a sea chub from the family Kyphosidae which is native to the Pacific Ocean waters off Hawaii’s coast.


Kyphosus hawaiiensis has an oval, deep and well compressed body with a terminal mouth which is slightly oblique ventrally with the front of the upper jaw being bluntly pointed. The body is partially clothed in small ctenoid scales. The dorsal fin is continuous with the anterior part being spinous and contains 11 spines while the posterior part contains 12 soft rays. The spinous part is longer than the soft part but the soft part is higher, especially in its anterior section. The anal fin has 3 spines and 11 soft rays. with the third spine being the longest. The caudal fin is moderately emarginate. The overall colour is bluish grey, however, seems to be able to darken the posterior half of its body to varying degrees, making a distinct bicoloured pattern, or it may be all dark with a pale central band. Often shows a white streak beneath the eye. This species attains a maximum total length of 41 centimetres (16 in).


Kyphosus hawaiiensis is found throughout the Hawaiian Islands and may also occur in the Line Islands.

Habitat and biology

Kyphosus hawaiiensis is found in small groups in the surge zone at the tops of reefs and in reef drop offs. The fish may be reliably relocated in the same place over a number of years suggesting that this species is terrtorial. It will associate with schools of Kyphosus cinerascens. It feeds by grazing on algal turf growing on rocky substrates and between corals.

Species description and taxonomy

Kyphosus hawaiiensis was described by Keiichi Sakai and Tetsuji Nakabo in 2004. Previously Kyphosus bigibbus was thought to occur in Hawaii but it was shown that the species in question was different from that species elsewhere and that K. bigibbus did not occur in Hawaii and that the Hawaiian taxon was the endemic K. hawaiiensis.

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