Polygamy Legal in the Ocean and the life of the Mexican Hogfish

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So clarification is required. But we have to laugh….and loudly!
Todays Fish Lesson is about the Hogfish, otherwise known as the Boquinette, to Mexican Fisherman or local Restaurants.

In our research, which we will pass in a minute, we learned a few very interesting facts about this fish. They exist in harems; not pods, not schools, not a gaggle and not a herd…A HAREM!

This is a direct quote from the Florida Fish Site
“Reproduction of the Hogfish

Hogfish are protogynous hermaphrodites. Females, upon reaching larger size and through social dominance, can transform into fully functional males. This often occurs at 3 years of age and lengths of approximately 14 inches (35.5 cm). In waters off south Florida, peak spawning occurs during the months of February and March. Hogfish schools consist of groups of females dominated by a larger male, referred to as a harem. The male guards his harem, spawning exclusively with the females within it. Spawning occurs in later afternoon and early evening. This event involves male courtship of the female, followed by a rush towards the surface. The male and female release gametes into the surrounding water where fertilization takes place. The fertilized, pelagic eggs rapidly develop into larvae, hatching approximately 24 hours after fertilization occurs. This larvae stage lasts several weeks until they grow into juveniles and settle out of the water column, onto suitable habitat. Juvenile hogfish have an oval profile and are compressed laterally. Reddish in color with faint vertical bands, they are commonly observed around seagrass beds. “

Our thought is, does this mean that ocean waters are free zones or legal areas that allow polygamy…that topic is waaaayyyy to political for this blog and we will just not go there…but fish existing in harems…who would have ever known, and who categories/defines fish anyway….we find this hilarious….

Before we carry on with the Latin equivelants and descriptions, there is another fact about the Hogfish that needs to be clarified….We have been told for years that the Hog fish was a vegetarian fish, a fish that did not eat other fish, fish meat, etc. THIS IS INCORRECT! and though we are happy to now report the truth (?), if anyone wants to shed light on this topic, please do.

Hogfish feed on mollusks (members of the squid family), crabs and seaurchins. This according to our books does not seem vegetarian, but the Mexican culture defines a vegetarian in a different way. Vegetarians in Mexico are people who eat chicken a few times a week, they are not eating it everyday, byt they are supposed to eat chicken. Vegetarians in other parts of the world, as far as we know, do not eat chicken…so maybe crabs, seaurchins and mollusks for some reason fall under the ‘chicken’ category. Hmmmmm Not a big deal, just interesting.

So back to the Latin understanding and some solid details and facts about the Hogfish. They live it the waters surrounding Florida, Bermuda and The Caribbean side of Mexico. There is a difference between the US based Hog fish and the Mexican Hogfish. Their colours can vary with the pink version found here in Mexico. They are a part of the Wrasse Family, and the latin name is Lachnolaimus Maximus. ‘Lachne’ defined means covered in hairs, which is directly related to the fact that the dorsal fin has 14 spines. When the Hogfish feels threatened, it does rise the dorsal fin, making it look a bit like a rooster…that dorsal fin, and the fact that the iris is bright red, and that there is a black dot on the dorsal fin where it meets the body, builds the unique characteristics of the Hogfish.

According to the World Conservation Union the Hogfish is on the Vulnerable Species list. This is due to overfishing, or should we just say a super delicious fish that is fished…if anyone has gone to La Bamba Jarocha on 3oth ave in Playa Del Carmen, or over to the Costa Del Mar you will know that this is a delicious, flakey, white fish. It is best served, and don’t cringe until you have tried it, deep fried. This is done with the skin on, not off and definately not battered, which does not allow the oil to soak into the flesh, so what you are left is, a super flakey, fresh white meat that melts in your mouth…yummmmm

We find Hogfish on many of our reefs as they live in waters from 10 to 100 feet. Recently juveniles were spotted in Casa Cenote, an open cenote near tulum where there is a direct exchange of sea and fresh water, making casa cenote a fish spawning area. Super cool place and worth a trip. But that is for another day.

So that ends our funny, and informative Fish Class for today…harems, really this will stick with us forever….or at least give all of us a smile for the rest of the day…

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