This nocturnal fish can be found in reef environments throughout the western Atlantic, as well as a number of islands in the eastern Atlantic. During the day, this species takes shelter within the reef, coming out at night to feed on plankton and small crustaceans. The blackbar soldierfish is recognizable by its often bright red coloration on the back and sides of its body, and a broad, black bar running from slightly behind the eye to the top edge of the pectoral fin on either side. Its large eyes help take in more light in dark waters, making this species well adapted for nocturnal feeding.
  • Size

    8 inches (20 cm)
  • Diet

    Plankton, small shrimp and other crustaceans
  • Range

    Western Atlantic from North Carolina, the Bahamas and the Northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil, including the West Indies and the Caribbean
  • Habitat

    Shallow water crevices and holes in coral and rock reefs

Physical Characteristics

Size

  • Maximum length of 10 inches (25 cm) in length, but usually does not exceed about 8 inches (20 cm).

Body Composition

  • Its eyes are large which aids in finding prey at night.

Color

  • The body of blackbar soldierfish is reddish on the back and upper sides, fading to silver on the underside. Its fins are red with white markings.
  • There is a distinctive dark-brown vertical bar behind the operculum.

 

Animal Fact

Blackbar soldierfish are often seen swimming upside down near rocky and coral reefs throughout its range

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists primarily of plankton, but will consume small shrimp and other crustaceans.

 

Range / Habitat

Range

  • Occurs in the Western Atlantic from North Carolina, the Bahamas and the Northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil, including the West Indies and the Caribbean. Also in some of the oceanic islands in the Eastern Atlantic.

Habitat

  • Found in shallow water crevices and holes in coral and rock reefs during the day and emerges at night to feed.
  • Preferred depth range is 6-100 feet (2-35 m), but it has been observed offshore to depths of about 330 feet (100 m).

Reproduction & Growth

  • Ovoviviparous; species lays eggs to bare young.

Additional Information

  • Swims alone or in small groups, occasionally observed swimming upside down.
  • In some locations the blackbar soldierfish is caught and marketed fresh, although it is not a popular food fish.
  • Sold in the home aquarium trade.

Sources

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