Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia
  

 

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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Barred Soapfish
   

Fig 1
 

Fig 2
 
 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Order : Perciformes
Family : SERRANIDAE
Species : Diploprion bifasciatum
Maximum Length : at least 25 cm

The Barred Soapfish inhabits shallow coastal waters, especially where there are rocky crevices, and coral reef habitats to depths of at least 100 metres. The images shared here were taken from a boat jetty in a shallow, sandy bay.

The species is also known as 'Two-banded Soapfish' or 'Yellow Emperor'.

This fish gets its name from the secretions it can produce from its skin when disturbed or stressed: for protection from potential predators it secretes a chemical defence in the form of a soapy mucus containing a toxin called Lipogrammistin-A (Onuki et al, 1993).

This easily identifiable fish is typically yellow, with bright yellow fins, a broad dark band across the flanks, and a narrow dark band through the eyes. Juveniles are bluish on the anterior part of the body.

This species has expandable jaws which allow it to feed on relatively large prey: this mainly comprises other fishes.

It ranges from central and eastern parts of the Indian Ocean through Southeast Asia to the western Pacific Ocean, including parts of Japan and Australia.


Figs 1 and 2 : Example from Pangkor Laut island, Perak, Peninsular Malaysia, in the Straits of Malacca, photographed from a boat jetty.


References :

Fishbase

Onuki, H., Tachibana, K., & Fusetani, N. (1993). Structure of lipogrammistin-A, a lipophilic ichthyotoxin secreted by the soapfish Diploprion bifasciatum. Tetrahedron letters, 34(35), 5609-5612.