Night Shift

soldierfishBrick Soldierfish
Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Subphylum: Vertebrata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Beryciformes Family: Holocentridae Genus: Myripristinae Genus: Myripristis Species: amaena

Scientific name: Myripristis amaena
Common name: Brick Soldierfish
Hawaiian name: U’ u
Closely related to squirrelfish, soldierfish are red-colored, large-eyed animals with a more stocky build than most squirrelfish.

Soldierfish are among the most numerous nocturnal fishes on Turtle Reef. During the day they swirl within, or congregate in static schools near to the mouth of caves where they hang more or less motionless, like sentries.

They lack the pre-opercula venomous spine of squirrelfish. These soldierfishes range from Indonesia and the Philippines through Micronesia to Hawaii. They inhabit the lagoon’s patch reefs and outer reefs within the tropics to the depth of around 150 feet.

At night, an hour or more after sundown, they emerge from refuges and navigate to the open waters at the edge of the reefs along routes they have learned from others and gather in feeding aggregation in the darkness using sound.

Soldierfish feed mainly on planktonic crustaceans some of which have migrated vertically from the depths to feed on the diatom pastures of the surface waters. Their red coloration appears black after nightfall and they are equipped with very large eyes permitting them to hunt for prey such as polychaete worms, alpheid shrimps and crab larvae in almost complete darkness, usually in the open water adjacent to and over coral reefs.

[Back to Reef Species Guide]