The vibrant colors of this species indicate to other animals that it is dangerous to consume. To make up for the lack of protective scales, the mandarinfish’s body produces an odorous, foul-tasting, toxic mucus.
  • Size

    3 inches (8 cm)
  • Diet

    Small benthic (bottom dwelling) invertebrates
  • Range

    Western Pacific
  • Habitat

    Bottom dweller found among coral or in shallow protected lagoons and inshore reefs

Physical Characteristics

  • Small, broad-headed and elongated, scaleless fish that typically reaches about 3 inches (8 cm) in length.
  • A brilliantly-colored fish, especially the male, with striking patterns of primarily green and orange.
  • Classified as a “dragonet.”

Animal Fact

Mandarinfish are classified as a “dragonet” and is usually found in small groups spread over a small area.

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists of small benthic (bottom dwelling) invertebrates.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Western Pacific from the Philippine Islands and Java to Pohnpei and New Caledonia, north to the Ryukyu Islands, and south to the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Bottom dweller found among coral or in shallow protected lagoons and inshore reefs at depths of 3-59 feet (1-18 m).
  • It is usually found in small groups spread over a small area.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Sexually dimorphic, like other dragonets: male and female are physically dissimilar. Male is larger and exhibits a longer, spined dorsal fin that it uses for display.
  • Body produces odorous, foul-tasting, toxic mucus to compensate for lack of protective scales. This protects the animal from parasites and deters potential predators.
  • Popular aquarium fish but possibly difficult to feed. Only recommended for advanced aquarists.

Sources

  • Micronesian Reef Fishes.  Meyers, R. F., pg. 232
  • Reef Fishes, Volume 1.  Michael, S. W., pgs. 56, 138
  • Fishes of the World – An Illustrated Dictionary.  Wheeler, A., pg. 343
  • An Encyclopedia of Fishes. 2nd Edition, pg. 143
  • www.fishbase.org
Buy Tickets