Fish ID: The batfish (Platax)
by Cindy
in Blog
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everything you always wanted to know about "Batfish" (platax)
FUN FACTS

- They are only 5 species that are considered as “the true batfish” genus
- These 5 “true batfishes” change drastically between the juvenile and adult phase of their lifecycles (shape, color, fins)
- Juveniles batfishes are highly social and can integrate a school of fish from other species

Identity
Where to find them?

You can find them in lagoons, coral reefs, close to drop-off and between 5 to 40 meters deep. You can also find groups in the open water, but the juveniles in shallow protected water. They live in the entire Indo-Pacific region, from the Western Indian Ocean in the Red Sea to Australia.

How long do they live?

It depends on the specie, diet, etc. but they can live between 5 to 14 years old in the wild

What size are they?

The average size of batfishes is 50 cm, but they can grow until 60 cm

How many species?
Until today, we discovered about 60 species, but they are only 5 considered as the “true batfishes species”
 
How do they reproduce?

They are ovipares, it means they reproduce themselves by laying eggs (until several thousands of eggs by incubation)

How & what do they eat?

They are omnivores, they eat plankton, anemone, coral, and algae.

How do they move?

It depends on the specie, some are poor swimmers and walk on the bottom, but some can swim, they use their fins to move

Who are their predators?
 
What do we still ignore?

There is a specie endemic to Galapagos called “red-lipped batfish”, we still don’t know a lot of things about it. IE: why do they have this iconic feature?

*All pictures in this article are coming from my dear friend Volker "Ibins".

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