Fish Spot: Greater Soapfish

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Common Name: Greater Soapfish

 

Scientific NameRypticus Saponaceus

 

Where to spot them here: Curiously this fish lies motionless on its side, resembling a dead fish, in caves and holes on Sabalos, Barracuda, Moc Che and Chunzumbul.

How to identify them: A solitary species inhabiting shallow water on bottoms with eroded limestone or mixed sand and rocks, as well as around reefs. Brownish grey in colour with “soap sud” markings. All soapfishes are small, the largest attaining lengths of about 30 centimeters (1 foot)

What you may not know about them: The name soapfish refers to their ability, when agitated (such as being caught on a fishing line!), to produce toxic body mucus that forms a slimy, soapsuds like froth upon its secretion into the water. The toxic mucus serves as a deterrent to predators.

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