SIGANIDAE
rabbitfishes, spinefoots

  Siganus rivulatus
Forsskål, 1775

Relevant synonyms
Teuthis signa
Teuthis rivulata

Misidentification
None

Meristic formula
D, XIV+10; A, VII+8-10; P, 15-17; V, I+3+I

 photo : David Darom    

SHORT DESCRIPTION
Body oval and compressed. First dorsal fin origin above pectoral fin base. Small first dorsal spine directed forward and usually covered with skin. Dorsal ray portion margin straight to slightly round. Caudal fin forked. Anal fin posterior margin straight to slightly curved. Pelvic fin inserted behind pectoral fin base, a membrane connecting its inner spine to the abdomen. Head moderately concave with blunt snout. Mouth small with distinct lips, the upper thicker and slightly overhanging. Jaws with a row of close - set incisor teeth. No teeth on palatine nor on vomer. Small embedded scales.

color : body grey-green to brown on back and light-brown to yellow on belly. Fine, often faded yellow-gold stripes on lower half of body.

size : common 5-25 cm (max. 27 cm).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Siganus luridus: caudal fin truncated.
    All other families: less than 7 spines in anal fin.

    BIOLOGY / ECOLOGY
    Schooling species. The juveniles form very dense schools. Herbivorous. Feeds chiefly on fleshy green and red algae, mainly Ulva spp. and Hypnea spp. Spawning season lasts from May to August. Diameter of ripe oocyste - 0.5-0.6 mm. Eggs and larvae planktonic.

    habitat : over sandy substrate, often covered by algae and seagrass.


  • 1st MEDITERRANEAN RECORD
    Palestine, 1927.


    DISTRIBUTION
    Worldwide : Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Mediterranean : recorded first in Palestine (Steinitz, 1927) ; successively recorded in Syria (Gruvel, 1929), Cyprus (Norman, 1929), Aegean Sea (Brunelli and Bini, 1934), Libya, (Stirn, 1970), Tunisia (Ktari and Ktari, 1974) and Ionian Sea (Tortonese, 1978).

    ESTABLISHMENT SUCCESS
    Very common.

    speculated reasons for success :
    presumably occupied an unsaturated niche with only scarce herbivorous indigenous fish species.


    MODE OF INTRODUCTION
    Via the Suez Canal.


    IMPORTANCE TO HUMANS
    Caught in large quantities in trammel net and purse seine. Successfully raised in cages but due to lack of demand this experiment in aquaculture ceased. All spines slightly venomous. Stinging very painful but non-lethal.


    KEY REFERENCES

    • Ktari F. and Ktari M.H., 1974. Présence dans le Golfe de Gabès de Siganus luridus (Rüppell, 1829) et de Siganus rivulatus (Forsskal, 1775) (Poissons, Siganidae) parasites par Pseudohaliotrematodides polymorphus. Bull. Inst. Océanogr. Pêche Salammbô, 3 (1-4): 95-98.
    • Lundberg B. and Golani D., 1995. Diet adaptation of Lessepsian migrant Rabbitfishes, Siganus luridus and S. rivulatus, to the algal resources of the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Marine Ecology, 16: 73-89.
    • Lundberg B. and Lipkin Y., 1993. Seasonal grazing site and fish size effects on pattern of algal consumption by the herbivorous fish, Siganus rivulatus, at Mikhmoret (Mediterranean, Israel). Natural Science and Technology, 27: 413-419.

     

    • Popper D. and Gundermann N., 1975. Some ecological and behavioral aspects of siganid populations in the Red Sea and Mediterranean coast of Israel in relation to their suitability for aquaculture. Aquaculture, 6: 127-141.
    • Steinitz W., 1927. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Küstenfauna Palästinas. I. Pubblicazioni della Stazione Zoologica di Napoli, 8(3-4): 311-353.

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    Last update of the species sheet:
    April 2002

    ©ciesm 2002