Night Shift

big eye snapperBig eye or Glasseye snappers
Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Subphylum: Vertebrata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Perciformes Family: Priacanthidae Genus: Heteropriacanthus Species: cruentatus
Scientific name: Heteropriacanthus cruentatus
Common name: Big eye or Glass eyed snappers
Hawaiian name:  Aweoweo (adult) alalauä or`alauwä (baby)

The Big eye, Glasseye, or Blotched Bigeye (names change from place to place) is a common nocturnal predator on Turtle Reef. There is an endemic species of big eye, more common in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands (Priacanthus meeki). Big eyes are deep-bodied fishes, narrow and compressed laterally with large eyes, small scales and upturned mouths. This highly successful species is found in all tropical oceans.

Glasseyes are common on patch reefs and on the outer reefs of oceanic islands. They also occur in oceanic waters on shelves, banks and seamounts. This species remains close to cover or hidden within caves during the day when it is unemployed. At this time its normal red coloration may fade to blotches while it is resting or asleep.

However, an hour or more after nightfall they emerge from their shelters to feed over the sea floor, and over deep water offshore, on a wide variety of benthic crustaceans that have risen from the seafloor to feed. They also feed on large planktonic species such as shrimp, octopus, stomatopods, squids and cuttlefish that have migrated to the surface from the deep scattering layer. Numbered as one of the top nocturnal predators, big eyes are occasionally associated with ciguatera poisoning.

[Back to Reef Species Guide]