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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Ocean Voyager

Range / Habitat

  • Spanish hogfish occurs in the tropical Western Atlantic from Bermuda, southern Florida, throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to southern Brazil.
  • It inhabits rocky and coral reefs to depths of about 3 to 230 feet (1-70 m).
  • This hogfish thrives in tropical climates.

Physical Characteristics

  • Spanish hogfish can reach a maximum size of 16 inches (40 cm) long and is covered with large scales. 
  • Individuals in shallow water have a blue upper body and head with a yellow lower body and tail. A red color replaces the blue body coloration in those individuals inhabiting deep water.
  • Dorsal, anal and pelvic fins are mostly blue or red-yellow near the trailing edge.

Diet / Feeding

  • Feeds on brittle sea stars, crustaceans, mollusks and sea urchins.
  • Juveniles act as cleaner fish, feeding on parasites attached to the gills and fins of other fishes.

Reproduction / Growth

  • Spanish hogfish is a protogynous hermaphrodite, wherein it begins life as a female and then changes into a male
  • This change is completed in 7 to 10 days.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List. 

Additional Information

  • This species may hybridize with the spotfin hogfish. 
  • Forms permanent harem groups composed of a single male and several smaller females.
  • Instances of ciguatera poisoning have been reported in people who have eaten the Spanish hogfish. The ciguatoxin accumulates in the flesh of the fish as a result of consuming some forms of algae or preying on fish that eat that algae.


Coral Reef Fishes. Lieske, E. and Myers, R.,