Quick Facts

Scientific name: Oxycirrhites typus
Size: up to 13cm
Depth: 10–100m
Average lifespan: 5-7 years
Diet: Bottom-dwelling invertebrates and zooplankton


The longnose hawkfish is a tropical reef fish being found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, where it resides at depths around 10 to 100 m (33 to 328 ft) most of the time below 25m (82 ft). Longhose Hawkfish house themselves in red gorgonians (sea fans) or black corals, where they are perfectly camouflaged because of their matching tones and colours. They prefer living in corals which are exposed to currents and provide ideal perches from which to view prey passing by in the substrate. They additionally make good hiding places to go back into if they feel threatened.


The Longnose Hawkfish has a whitish background colour with red or orange horizontal and vertical lines across the body forming an attractive pattern of squares. The dorsal fin is red and white in colour, each of them has ten spines with soft and hard rays. On top of the dorsal fins there are hair-like structures (called Cirri). The male fish have black edges on their fins.

The pectoral fins are comparatively large and without scales, the length makes it very  

easy to sit on rocks and coral, whereas their tail fins are shortened. Because they have no swim bladder they sink when not swimming. The advantage of not having a swim bladder is that they can rapidly move up- and downwards without having to adjust the pressure of a swim bladder. This gives them an advantage when snatching passing prey in the substrate as it allows them to move faster.

Their eyes are slightly bulbous giving them a good field of vision. Their preferred prey is fairly small and passes by in the current, a good field of view and sharp eyesight are a necessity for them. The snout is long and the mouth is proportionally quite small. The long nose helps it to catch its prey effectively even from the tightest places.


The Longnose Hawkfish can be aggressive towards their species and also with any other fishes. They are quite territorial, defending their home against unwanted visitors. They have sharp teeth that they’ll use to defend themselves against predators and other hawkfish. Longnose Hawkfish are best known for their swooping and perching behaviors. 

What if a Longnose Hawkfish is being threatened? No worries! They have no problem hiding their vibrant colors from predators when they dart amongst the bright corals and anemones.


The Longnose Hawkfish is a predatory carnivore. The fast-paced fish is known for mainly feeding on bentic or free-swimming crustaceans. Hermit crabs are one of the predominant crustaceans in the Longnose Hawkfish’s diet.

They will stick to safe rocky outcroppings unless they’re diving for food or chasing away intruders. Even if they lack a swim bladder, they can swim quickly for short periods of time. They are very curious and like to explore their territory and surrounding areas. 


The Longnose Hawkfish is a protogynous, synchronous hermaphrodite. They get born as females and invert into a male at a later stage in life. The male fish is more colourful compared to the female fish and might also be slightly bigger than her.

Longnose Hawkfish either form monogamous pairs or small groups with two or possibly more females. In groups the largest female is resident in the same coral as the male and the smaller females reside  

in corals close by. In the evening around sunset a courtship dance performed by both – the male and the female – takes place. The male swims around the female raising its dorsal fin and after mounting the female, at dusk both fish dart into the substrate and the demersal (bottom sinking) eggs and sperm are released simultaneously.

A longnose hawkfish baby is called a fry. 


South-Malé Atoll
Raa Atoll
South Malé Atoll
Divepoint Dive Center Hudhuran Fushi
North Malé Atoll
Hudhuran Fushi
Gnaviyani Atoll
North Malé Atoll